The Cleveland Guardians beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, with an eighth-inning rally

The Cleveland Guardians beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, with an eighth-inning rally

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For seven innings, Cal Quantrill experienced life as the other half. Then Steven Kwan came to the rescue.

The Guardians, trailing 1-0 with one out in the eighth inning, came from behind to beat the Rays, 2-1, Thursday night at Progressive Field. The win, Cleveland’s ninth in the last 10 games, ruined Tampa Bay’s plans to celebrate earning a wildcard berth.

Rookie Will Brennan started the rally with a hit single. Myles Straw brought it back to second and Kwan, another rookie, doubled on the left to level the score at 1-1. Kwan took third on a pitch by Amed Rosario and Shawn Armstrong (2-3) intentionally walked Jose Ramirez to bring rookie Oscar Gonzalez to the plate. Gonzalez sent a grounder first that Ji-Man Choi couldn’t field because Kwan went-ahead on the hit.

Taking the lead was difficult. Holding it was even harder.

Trevor Stephan, pitching the ninth because Emmanuel Clase pitched the first two games of the series, ran the bases loaded with one out. But he came back to pull out Choi and pull out Isaac Paredes on a fly ball to short right field for his third save.

Enyel De Los Santos (5-0) was the winner after kicking a scoreless eighth.

The Guardians were held scoreless for seven innings by left-hander Jeffrey Springs (six innings) and Armstrong (one inning) before finally bringing the bat to the ball.

“You have to take out all the other at-bats (that came before),” Kwan said when asked about the eighth inning. “Each at-bat is an independent opportunity. Just go with a clear mind and get going.

Kwan hit a 94 mph fastball to the left field line for his 23rd brace of the season. He’s hitting .315 (29 for 92) starting in the eighth inning. It’s the fourth-highest batting average for rookies, according to FanGraphs, with at least 50 plate appearances.

Stephan, with the bases loaded and an out, expired after pulling himself out of a tense situation.

“When you get a lead like that in the ninth, you want to come in quick and get the job done,” he said. “But they made it difficult for me. They made me work and I was lucky to get out of it tonight.

The Guardians are 36-16 in games decided from the seventh inning. They are 29-11 in their last game at bat and have 37 comeback wins.

Cleveland won the series from the Rays, 2-1. All three games were one-inning contests, with two in extra innings.

They won the season series, 4-2, against Tampa.

Not a bottomless pool of runs, the Guardians’ offense has overwhelmed Quantrill with support this year. He entered Thursday night’s game against the Rays leading all major league pitchers with 6.47 RAS per nine innings this season.

But the well dried up on a cold, wet September night. Quantrill, in one of his best starts of the year, allowed just one run in the first inning, but until the eighth it looked like that would be enough to beat him.

The Rays could have clinched a wildcard spot with a win. There’s still a chance the AL Central champions Guardians and Rays will meet in a best-of-three playoff game starting Oct. 7.

Quantrill’s 10-game winning streak, which began July 11 against the White Sox, remains intact with Thursday’s no decision. He also remains undefeated at Progressive Field in 43 games, including 33 starts.

“I didn’t win this one,” Quantrill said. “The boys played hard. It’s been our MO all year. You can’t sideline us. It’s batting quality throughout. Myles takes one for the team, sacrificing his at bat. Kwan pulls through as he always has. I don’t think we’re a very fun team to play against.

The Guardians didn’t like the idea of ​​the Rays celebrating on their home turf.

“We don’t want people celebrating at our house, do we?” Quantrill said. “It’s a very good team. I know a few guys in this team, I like this team. But we don’t want them partying here. They can go celebrate wherever they go next.

“It’s not about proving we can beat them. It comes down to proving that we can continue to play the game the way we want. If we face them (in the playoffs), great. If it’s the Mariners, great. Whoever it is, fine. I think we are ready. We’ve shown we can play good baseball in meaningful games. We did this last month.

David Peralta’s two-out single gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the first. Quantrill started the game with two quick outs, but Wander Franco doubled up and took third on a wild pitch after Harold Ramirez was hit by a pitch.

Quantrill allowed one run on three hits in six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter in 88 pitches. After the first, Quantrill allowed only two runners to reach base.

Next: The Royals visit for a six-game series that ends the regular season on Wednesday. The Guardians will start RHP Aaron Civale (3-6, 5.19) against RHP Brady Singer (10-4, 2.99) in the series opener on Friday at 7:10 a.m. Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.

Cleveland Guardians Center Champion Gear

The Cleveland Guardians are the AL Central Champions. Get the championship gear in the link below. (Courtesy Fanatics)

Guardians AL Central Championship merchandise for sale: Here’s where you can get Cleveland Guardians gear commemorating their AL Central Division title, including t-shirts, hats, hoodies and more.

If you or a loved one have questions and need to speak to a gambling professional, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the from the National Council on the Gaming Program (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700.

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