Six Run 9th Inning Sends Rays Past Indians
Tribe Now 0-5 vs. Tampa Bay in 2021, 10 Consecutive Loss to Rays
CLEVELAND (AP) — Nelson Cruz homered in his Tampa Bay debut and Joey Wendle hit a go-ahead single in a six-run ninth inning as the Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 10-5 Friday night.
On a day the Indians announced they will change their name to the Guardians at the conclusion of the season, a new name for the Rays helped them beat Cleveland for the 10th straight time.
Acquired a day earlier in a four-player trade with Minnesota, Cruz hit his 20th homer, walked and scored twice. The 41-year-old All-Star slugger is 46th on the career home run list with 437.
With the score tied at 4, Wendle singled home Randy Arozarena with no outs. Ji-Man Choi added a three-run homer off Nick Wittgren (2-3), who faced six batters and allowed five runs.
José Ramírez hit a three-run homer and drove in four for the Indians.
Matt Wisler (3-3) worked two innings of relief.
Ramírez tied the score 4-all in the seventh with a two-out, RBI triple off Wisler.
The Indians had trailed 4-0 in the third following Cruz’s solo homer.
Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the second, scoring three runs on a blooper-reel worthy play that featured two errors by Ramírez, a All-Star third baseman.
Arozarena singled home Yandy Diaz and advanced Wander Franco to second, and all of them scored as Ramírez fumbled the throw back into the infield, then fired the ball past catcher Austin Hedges.
Ramírez reduced Cleveland’s deficit to 4-3 in the bottom half on Ramírez’s 20th homer, off Josh Fleming.
Indians starter Zach Plesac gave up four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. Cleveland rookie Daniel Johnson homered off Pete Fairbanks in the ninth.
Before the game, Tampa Bay made its second trade since arriving in Cleveland, sending left-hander Rich Hill to the Mets for righty Tommy Hunter and minor leaguer Matt Dyer.
Cruz is eager to serve as a mentor to Tampa Bay’s talented youngsters, just as he did with the Twins. “I know this organization is big on it and that’s something I like to do,” Cruz said. “I’ve been through a lot of up and downs in my career.”
General manager Erik Neander and C Mike Zunino both noted the significance of adding a respected leader from the Dominican Republic to help bridge the language gap.
“It’s going to be a huge development for those guys,” said Zunino, who previously played with Cruz in Seattle. “Nelson is one of the best teammates that I’ve ever had. If he’s not No. 1, he’s No. 1-B.”
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (right forearm tightness), who has been on the 60-day injured list since May 8, has allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings in his first two rehabilitation appearances for Triple-A Durham.
Indians: C Roberto Pérez (back tightness) sat out his second straight game. Manager Terry Francona said Pérez was one of several players who woke up with sore backs as a result of their hotel beds in Houston.
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash has not decided who will start the third game of the four-game series as the rotation remains in flux.
Indians: RHP J.C. Mejia (1-5, 7.53 ERA), whose lone victory came in relief at Detroit on May 24, is 0-5 with an 8.80 ERA in eight starts.
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