Friday night's game between the Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays got off to an ominous start. A couple of early runs from the Rays put the Guardians in a bad spot early, but Cleveland was able to rally to come away with a 3-2 win.
The Rays got on the board early as it appeared that Guardians pitcher Cal Quantrill was destined for an early exit. Quantrill gave up a run in each of the first two innings on hard-hit balls to left field. The Rays were locked into anything and everything that Quantrill had to offer. The recently activated starter was able to rebound and prevent any further damage in his 6 innings of work.
Cleveland got on the scoreboard in the 3rd, thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kole Calhoun. Calhoun was able to drive the ball deep enough into left field, which allowed Myle Straw to score.
The 7th inning is when the Guardians were able to complete their rally. A leadoff single and subsequent steal of second base put Andres Gimenez in scoring position. A one-out RBI single from Gabriel Arias would tie the game at 2. Bo Naylor would deliver with an RBI double in the very next at-bat, driving in what would be the game-winning run for the Guardians.
Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase came on in the Top of the 9th to close the door. It was a 1-2-3 inning for Clase, as he needed just 10 pitches to induce two groundouts and a flyout to end the game. This was Clase's MLB-leading 37th save of the season in his 55th appearance of the season, which also leads all of baseball.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Minnesota Twins were also victorious Friday night. While they were not able to cut into Minnesota's five-game lead in the division, keeping it as-is does help their cause. The Guardians have an incredibly slim margin for error if things are going to get interesting down the stretch, and they passed their first test Friday night.