Jose Ramirez has HR, 3 RBIs in Guardians’ 4-1 win over Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jose Ramirez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth, Shane Bieber struck out eight in seven innings and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1.

Ramirez’s 21st homer, a drive off Jeffrey Springs (3-3), gave Cleveland a 3-1 lead. Ramirez added a two-out RBI single in the eighth after Steven Kwan‘s third single.

Bieber (5-6) iis just 2-3 in nine starts since June 3. He needed 26 pitches in the first, when Ji-Man Choi hit a run-scoring single. The Rays stranded the bases loaded when Christian Bethancourt struck out.

Emmanuel Clase pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances, getting Bethancourt to ground into a game-ending double play. The Guardians won for the third time in four games.

Tampa Bay has lost six of seven and leads Cleveland by 3 1/2 games for the AL’s third wild card. The homestand opener drew just 14,671,

Bieber, who has pitched six innings or more in 11 of his last 13 starts, gave up one run and five hits.

Springs allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale, on the 15-day IL since July 14 with a sprained right wrist, is scheduled to pitch off a mound Sunday.

Rays: The neck strain that put RHP Matt Wisler on the 15-day IL Wednesday is minor, according to manager Kevin Cash. . . . . C Mike Zunino, who last played June 10 and is out for the season, had surgery on his left shoulder Thursday.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Corey Kluber (6-6, 3.91) will make the second start of his career Saturday against the team for which he won Cy Young Awards in 2014 and 2017. Kluber pitched six scoreless innings for the Yankees against Cleveland last Sept. 17, earning a win. RHP Zach Plesac (2-8, 4.09) will pitch for the Guardians.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.