Rays overpower Indians, try for sweep Sunday in key series
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tommy Pham and Avisail Garcia hit two-run homers, Ji-Man Choi and Travis d'Arnaud had solo shots, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 9-6 on Saturday night.
The Rays have won the first two games of the three-game set to tighten the AL wild-card race. Cleveland holds a half-game lead over Tampa Bay and Oakland for the first wild card.
Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor hit two-run homers for the Indians, who also entered 4 1/2 games in back of AL Central-leading Minnesota.
Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis left in the seventh with right wrist discomfort. Left fielder Tyler Naquin was placed on the 10-day injured list before the game with a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee after getting hurt Friday, the second big blow to Cleveland's lineup in a week after José Ramírez broke his hand.
Choi homered in the second and Pham connected in the third off Zach Plesac (7-5) as the Rays went up 3-2.
Plesac was pulled after walking d'Arnaud to start a three-run sixth that included Garcia's blast off Tyler Clippard. Plesac gave up four runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
D'Arnaud hit his solo blast during a three-run seventh, his 15th of the season.
Santana drove his 31st homer off opener Diego Castillo in the first. The slugger had a one-out, third-inning double against Jalen Beeks (6-3), but Lindor was thrown out trying to score from first.
After Lindor hit his 26st homer in the eighth, Greg Allen cut the deficit to 9-6 on a two-run double in the ninth off Ricardo Pinto.
Beeks, the second of seven Tampa Bay pitchers, allowed four hits over three scoreless innings. Emilio Pagan retired both batters he faced in the ninth to get his 16th save.
The Rays and Baltimore will play a doubleheader Tuesday due to Hurricane Dorian. Wednesday's finale of a three-game series was moved up one day. It's the second doubleheader at Tropicana Field as the result of a hurricane. The Rays and Detroit split a pair on Sept. 30, 2004 following Hurricane Frances.
The Indians announced that former Cleveland catcher Hal Naragon died Saturday. He was 90. Naragon played parts of the seven seasons with the Indians, including with the 1954 AL champions.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco, who hasn't pitched in the majors since late May when he was diagnosed with leukemia, will be reinstated from the 60-day IL Sunday.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (bruised left rib cage) went 0 for 3 with a walk after missing the previous four games. ... RHP Tyler Glasnow (right forearm strain) could return in an opener/reliever role late next week. ... LHP Brendan McKay (left shoulder fatigue) struck out eight and allowed one hit in three scoreless innings for Triple-A Durham.
Indians RHP Adam Plutko (6-3) and Rays RHP Charlie Morton (13-6) are Sunday's starters.