CLEVELAND, Ohio – Due to a few late runs, the Guardians staged an improbable six-run rally on Wednesday, defeating the Tigers for an 8-4 win on the Progressive field. Cleveland hitters struckout three in a row to open the bottom of the inning, then scored six runs, all with two outs.
Read that again. Three strikeouts followed by six straight runs.
Luke Maile made the comeback when he reached first base on a dropped third strike by Detroit-catcher Eric Haase. Maile swung and missed on a slider in the sand from southpaw Andrew Chafin and the ball went away from Haase as Maile sprinted to first. Myles Straw singled in the middle and the rally started.
After going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position to start the game, Cleveland went 5-for-5 in the eighth, led by Steven Kwan and top manager Terry Francona’s lineup.
Kwan’s RBI ground-rule double down the right field line brought Detroit’s lead to a run, and Amed Rosario tied the score at 4-4 when he hit an infield hit when Straw crossed the plate.
“How many times do you hear me say ‘Keep playing, keep playing?'” Francona said. “That was kind of the ultimate (example).”
José Ramírez sent a bloop-double to the left that fell in front of Akil Baddoo of Detroit and shot towards the left field line, scoring two runs. It marked the eleventh RBI of his career in the eighth inning or later for Ramírez, and the second time he did that this season. Oscar Gonzalez added an RBI double high from the wall on the left and later scored on Owen Miller’s RBI single that gave the Guards a four lead.
It was the first time since at least 1961 that a team struckout three or more batters in an inning before scoring six or more runs in that same inning, according to Elias Sports.
“Success is contagious,” Kwan said. “There’s a bit of tension in there too. We always think we’re in it, and it only takes one man to get it going. Hitting is contagious, barrels or outs. We have lucky balls falling. That’s just baseball. But we got over it.”
The Tigers extended a one-run lead in the fifth with an RBI single by Victor Reyes and added another run on a solo homerun by Willi Castro in the sixth against Cleveland-starter Cal Quantrill.
“I just took my foot off the pedal,” Quantrill said. “Not on purpose. I just kind of got out of rhythm, the fastball leaked, that was really the only thing you can’t do in that situation. It can’t happen, but I got saved today, so let’s let it go.
Quantrill avoided his first loss of his career at Progressive Field and retired after the sixth when Cleveland was three points behind. Quantrill gave up four runs on five hits and knocked out a pair in his 27th career at the stadium.
The win kept Cleveland in first place atop the American League Central Division, one game ahead of Minnesota, which defeated Kansas City earlier in the day. It also gave the Guardians a season series win against Detroit, 10-9, and tied the all-time series between the two clubs with 1,144 wins apiece. Cleveland has now won seven consecutive seasons against the Tigers since 2016.
It also marks 10 consecutive series overall that the Guardians have split or won, the most since August 2017.
Gonzalez gave Cleveland the lead with an RBI double in the third inning after Norris had hit Ramírez. It was Gonzalez’s sixth homestand hit and his 20th in August, taking him fourth in the American League for the month.
But Quantrill gave the lead right back in the fourth to load the bases after walks off Riley Greene and Reyes and a bloop single by Javier Baez. Kerry Carpenter cashed in on Reyes with a sacrifice fly and Haase gave Detroit the lead with an RBI single on a ground ball in the middle.
“Unfortunately, he lost the plate for about eight pitches, arm-side, and it was the two walks,” Francona said. “It came in that inning where they put things together. He’s throwing really well. He lost the attack zone for a bit and that cost him.”
Cleveland added a run in the sixth when Andrés Giménez doubled and moved to third base on a grounder by Maile before scoring on a passed ball by Haase.
Bryan Shaw retired the lone batter he faced in the eighth to take his sixth win (6-2, 5.36). He came into the game after James Karinchak worked an extended 1 2/3 innings of relief and his scoreless run of innings improved to 16 1/3 since July 9. It is the longest active scoreless streak among the AL relievers. Karinchak struckout three in the seventh and struckout 16.57 per nine innings during his scoreless stretch.
“His curveball is exceptional, and he has life on his fastball,” Francona said. ‘That’s why I went to get him. I just thought it was a lot of pitches and I don’t want to exaggerate.”
Next one: The Guardians are off Thursday before opening a three-game weekend series against the White Sox at Progressive Field on Friday. Cleveland will send righthander Triston McKenzie (8-9, 3.14) to the mound against Chicago righthander Lance Lynn (3-5, 5.62). The first pitch is set at 7:10 PM. The match will be broadcast on Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM and the Guardians Radio Network.
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