By MARK DIDTLER Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randy Arozarena lined an RBI single to right center to complete a three-run ninth inning off Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase as the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the Guardians 6-5 on Saturday.
Clase (1-7) allowed Yandy Díaz’s one-out double. Díaz advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored to tie it at 5 on Brandon Lowe’s infield single before the All-Star Arozarena won it on an 0-2 pitch.
“I was trying not to strikeout,” Arozarena said through a translator. “I was looking up at the radar and I noticed he was throwing 102 mph. I was also trying not to swing too hard. I choked up a little bit (on the bat).”
It was Clase’s ninth blown save in 40 chances.
Tampa Bay won Friday night’s series opener 9-8 when Wander Franco hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth after the Rays blew a three-run lead in the top of the inning.
“They’re pumped,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of his players. “They were pumped last night … Maybe a little more pumped tonight simply because we were down and behind for the entire day.”
Cleveland wasted an impressive start by rookie Gavin Williams, who struck out 10 over five inning.
Williams allowed one run, five hits and didn’t walk a batter in his 10th career start and had his ERA drop from 2.90 to 2.80. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was coming off an outing Tuesday in which he gave up one hit and had a career-high 12 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I think Gavin is maturing right in front of our eyes,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said.
Williams’ 22 strikeouts over his past two starts are the most by a Cleveland rookie in a two-game span since Herb Score in 1955. He joins Score and Bob Feller (1936) as the only Cleveland rookies with consecutive double-digit strikeout performances.
“I’m definitely getting into the groove,” Williams said. “I know my stuff plays out here. So, just keep going with it.”
Williams’ fastball was consistently in the upper 90s to go with a curveball 20 mph slower.
Luke Raley homered and had an RBI double for the AL wild-card-leading Rays. His eighth-inning double pulled Tampa Bay within 5-3.
The Guardians were without All-Star third baseman José Ramírez, who had his MLB suspension for fighting with Chicago’s Tim Anderson reduced from three games to two on Saturday.
Ramírez, who knocked Anderson to the ground with a wild, well-placed punch, also won’t play in Sunday’s series finale.
Oscar Gonzalez had a sacrifice fly and Myles Straw drove in a run on a fielder’s choice grounder as the Guardians took a 3-1 lead in the sixth.
Kole Calhoun and Cam Gallagher had run-scoring singles during the eighth against Josh Fleming (2-0) to make it 5-2. Fleming was reinstated from the 60-day injured list after being sidelined since June 3 by left elbow inflammation.
Tampa Bay got within 3-2 when pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez had a seventh-inning RBI single.
The Guardians went ahead 1-0 when Steven Kwan tripled off Erasmo Ramírez leading off the third and scored on Brayan Rocchio’s sacrifice fly.
Raley tied it at 1 in the fourth on his 16th homer, and first since July 5.
Williams was originally drafted by the Rays in the 30th round of the 2017 draft but didn’t sign. The Guardians selected him 23rd overall in 2021 out of East Carolina.
Indians: 2B Andrés Giménez jammed his toe rounding secomd base. Francona will check with him Sunday but feels he should be fine.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (left arm) was moved from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL, which means his season is over. Tommy John surgery is among the options under consideration.
Rays RHP Zach Eflin (12-6) will look to become the AL’s first 13-game winner on Sunday against Guardians rookie RHP Tanner Bibee (8-2).