For the second straight game, the Cleveland Guardians found themselves in a position where they needed to rally, and they did just that in their 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cleveland needed heroic performances to come out on top Saturday night. Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th, Steven Kwan came through with two outs. After taking an automatic strike to begin the at-bat, Kwan singled to left to drive in Myles Straw to tie the game and force extras.
In the 11th, Cleveland was staring defeat right in the face as they were down 6-5. Jose Tena would get that Guardians level with the Rays with a first-pitch single to right, allowing Straw to score again. And then it was Kwan’s turn again to play hero. Kwan drove the ball deep enough for Bo Naylor to score on a sacrifice fly, winning the game 7-6.
It certainly appears that the Guardians are channeling their inner Guardiac Kids from last season, as they have managed two consecutive dramatic victories over a very good Rays team.
Even though Cleveland has managed two wins in a row, they still trail the American League Central Division-leading Minnesota Twins by 5 games. While it is a bit disappointing to see their deficit remain the same, the positive side is that it has not increased. And that could be a major factor in their upcoming three-game series that begins Monday.
If the Guardians can get a little help from the Rangers on Sunday, combined with completing a sweep of Tampa, this could prove to be a pivotal series. Cleveland has a chance to make a significant dent in the Twins' lead in the division, and their three-game set will be the difference between whether or not the rest of September will be filled with meaningful baseball games.