Indians rally for 3-2 win, end 11-game losing skid to Rays
McKenzie throws well, but doesn’t earn win
(AP) - CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians showed the Rays they can mount a comeback, too.
Bobby Bradley’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning capped Cleveland’s late rally and sent the Indians to a 3-2 win on Sunday, snapping their losing streak against Tampa Bay at 11 games.
On the verge of being swept and dropping under .500 for the first time since May 1, the Indians, who managed just one run in seven innings against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, rallied in the eighth off reliever Matt Wisler (3-4).
“It shows character,” said Indians bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who filled in for ailing manager Terry Francona for the second straight game. “They’re not going to give up. There’s some resiliency with these guys.”
The win closed a memorable weekend for Cleveland, which included the team announcing its name will change to Guardians after this season.
The Indians also turned the tables on the Rays, who have 30 come-from-behind wins and lead the majors with 192 runs after the seventh inning.
Cesar Hernandez opened the eighth with a single before Wisler hit Amed Rosario on the hand. Harold Ramirez delivered a game-tying RBI single before Bradley hit a fly to center deep enough to score Rosario ahead of Kevin Kiermaier’s throw.
“It’s really exciting, not only for the win,” Ramirez said through a translator. “But also because over the last couple of losses they took away from our pocket, it’s very exciting to do it and for us to do it in the late innings like we did.”
Hernandez also homered for the Indians, whose playoff hopes have been fading quickly.
James Karinchak (7-2) pitched one inning and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 12th save — and first since June 16 — as the Indians improved to 6-16 in their last 22 games.
Nelson Cruz hit his second homer in three games for Tampa Bay, which fell a game behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
Cruz, who joined the Rays on Friday after the club acquired him a trade with Minnesota, connected in the sixth off Triston McKenzie for his 438th homer to tie Hall of Famer Andre Dawson for 45th place on the career list.
Cruz put the Rays ahead 2-1 in the sixth with his 21st homer of 2021, a lined solo shot to straightaway center.
“Man, he hits the ball hard,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “That ball is not supposed to be driven out to dead center.”
Hernandez led off the first with his 17th homer. It was the second baseman’s 18th career leadoff homer, and his fifth in 2021.
Francona stayed home to rest and recover from a nasty head cold he caught during the team’s recent road trip. The Indians are off again Monday, giving the 62-year-old even more time to get healthy.
Shane Bieber’s recovery from shoulder soreness isn’t progressing as quickly as the Indians hoped.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner has been on the injured list since June 14. He’s playing catch at 60 feet, and isn’t ready to move to the mound.
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