Guardians collect 15 hits in 9-2 defeat of Rays

Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

Needing a win to avoid being swept, the Cleveland Guardians defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2. 

It was a comfortable margin for the Guardians, excluding any and all drama, exactly what Cleveland was looking for on a getaway day. The Rays managed to walk off the Guardians in the first two games of the series, so having a bottom of the 9th that did not feature that possibility was a relief. 

Cleveland collected 15 hits in the contest, capping off a three-game series that saw them register double-digit hits in every game (28 total). Considering that Cleveland was without Jose Ramirez for the final two games of this series due to a suspension and Josh Naylor is currently sidelined with an injury, this was quite the collective work by Cleveland's supporting cast.

Leading the way was Andres Gimenez, who went 4-5 with a home run to get the scoring started. There were some encouraging signs of life in the bat of Oscar Gonzalez, as he registered three doubles in the contest. Although, a base-running error late in the game marred an otherwise great day at the plate. 

On the mound, it was Tanner Bibee taking care of business. The Guardians rookie kept the Rays in check over his 7 innings of work, allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out five en route to his seventh consecutive win. Cleveland's bullpen would hold down the final two innings of the contest. Sam Hentges and Michael Kelly pitched the final two frames, with a free pass issued by the former and a hit allowed by the latter.

Even though the Guardians ended their time in Florida on a positive note, the Twins did not do them any favors in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Minnesota was also able to come away with a win Sunday, resulting in Cleveland's deficit remaining at 4.5 games. Competing for the American League Central title is not out of the question, but their chances to make that a possibility are running out.