Austin Hedges drives in 2 to break tie, put Guardians over Rays 5-3

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Austin Hedges had a tiebreaking two-run single in the fifth to help the Cleveland Guardians beat All-Star Game starter Shane McClanahan and the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3.

Cleveland won its first series against the Rays since August 2017 and ended a long stretch of games on the road with a 6-5 record.

Reliever Kirk McCarty (2-2) allowed one run, four hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings. Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth to get his 23rd save.

McClanahan (10-4) gave up five runs, seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings – tying season-low. His major-league best 1.76 ERA climbed to 2.07, and the lefty had his streak of going six or more innings with two earned runs or fewer stop at 13 games.

David Peralta, acquired from Arizona on Saturday, started in left field and went 1 for 4 in his Rays debut. Tampa Bay is 3-7 since the All-Star break.

Ryan Thompson replaced McClanahan with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth and after getting an out gave up the go-ahead hit to Hedges.

The Guardians went up 3-0 in the second when Myles Straw had a two-run single and Jose Ramirez picked up his 84th RBI with a base hit.

Tampa Bay responded in the bottom of the second when Isaac Paredes hit a leadoff double, went to third on Bryan Shaw‘s wild pitch and scored the first of two Tampa Bay runs when catcher Hedges was charged with an error for an errant throw to third.

Ji-Man Choi tied it at 3-3 on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. He also had a run-scoring grounder during the second.

Shaw allowed two runs, two hits and three walks over two innings in second consecutive start after 732 relief consecutive appearances.

Guardians rookie Steven Kwan extended his hitting streak to 14 games on a first-inning bunt single. He also threw out Brandon Lowe, who tried to score from second on Randy Arozarena‘s fifth-inning single.

BY THE NUMBERS

Peralta wore wearing No. 6, while INF Taylor Walls switched from 6 to 0. Peralta said 6 was his first big-league number and that he will talk with Walls to “take care of him” for giving up the number.

Walls and OF Mallex Smith (2017-18) are the only Tampa Bay players to wear No. 0.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: Manager Terry Francona said 1B Josh Naylor was feeling better one day after experiencing numbness in his surgically repaired right ankle. . 1B Owen Miller (bruised right forearm) didn’t play.

Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said the reports on closer Nick Anderson‘s (right elbow surgery) first outing with Triple-A Durham Saturday night were encouraging.

UP NEXT

Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (7-5) is scheduled to start Monday night’s game against Arizona.

Rays: RHP Drew Rasmussen (6-3) is expected to face Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (7-8) Tuesday night.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.