The Tampa Bay Rays saved it for the end.
Held to one hit for most of the night by Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, the Rays rallied in the seventh and eighth for four hits and four runs to win the opening game of their series, 5-1, Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
Kluber was rolling. He had a one-hit shutout through seven before the Rays’ bats came alive. In the seventh, Corey Dickerson doubled, and Desmond Jennings followed with a single to drive him home and tie the game.
In the eighth, Logan Forsythe hit a full-count two-run home run to left-center. Two hitters later, Evan Longoria also hit a two-run homer.
“We had some momentum going from the inning before when Desmond tied the game. We had (Kevin Kiermaier) on base. My thought process was that Kluber was great all night. He was hitting his spots in and out, and a lot of us were 0-2. I really wanted to bear down and get something through the infield. He came with a fastball over the plate, and I just got the barrel to it.”
Matt Moore started for the Rays and gave up only a home run to Francisco Lindor. Moore was hit hard in the inning, giving up a single, double and deep fly ball, but the Indians ran their way into a double play.
“We are a lot more confident than we were last year at this point,” Longoria said. “That comes from top to bottom.”
The Rays are now 3-4 after seven games. They play Cleveland again tonight.
“We knew that we needed to get better at winning those close games,” said manager Kevin Cash. “This is a big one. We’ve played in plenty of close games already in this early part of the season. The guys are quickly becoming seasoned to it.”
Drew Smyly pitches for the Rays tonight against Carlos Carrasco.