By Jordan Bastian and Troy Provost-Heron
MLB.com |@MLBastian |
ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore made his first start for the Rays since undergoing Tommy John surgery 14 months ago, but a Mike Aviles home run in the 10th inning Thursday spoiled the left-hander's return and gave the Indians a 5-4 victory to complete a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.
"We needed it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You can't come into a series getting ahead of yourself, but we needed to get greedy today. You win three and it's easy to go, 'Well, three out of four.' But, we needed to win today and that was a hard one to win. We've got to keep going. This can't be, we take a deep breath, we've played a good series. We've got to get after it."
After the Rays knotted it up at 4 in the sixth, both squads went down in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth to send the game into extra innings. Xavier Cedeno came in to pitch the first extra frame and served up the homer to Aviles on the first pitch he threw out of the bullpen.
Moore kicked off his return by tossing three no-hit innings, but surrendered a run in the fourth off a sacrifice fly from Michael Brantley and surrendered three more in the fifth after allowing five straight Indians to get on base before getting pulled after 4 2/3 innings. In his return, the left-hander tossed 81 pitches, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out four en route to a no-decision.
Opposing Moore was reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who surrendered two runs in the first to dig himself an early hole, but rebounded to pitch masterfully. The right-hander received a no-decision after tossing eight innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out 14.
Kluber's effort came one day after fellow Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco carried a no-hitter through 8 2/3 innings against the Rays. Carrasco ended with a brilliant one-hit, 13-strikeout win.
"I wasn't going out there thinking about trying to one-up Carlos or anything like that," Kluber said. "It probably gives you confidence. You get some good scouting reports and things like that from watching [the other starters], but I was a lot more nervous [Wednesday] night than I was tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two-out rally: Moore retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth, but then Cleveland went into attack mode. Giovanny Urshela got the ball rolling with a single, Aviles drew a walk and then Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Brantley each delivered an RBI single to to give the Tribe a 4-2 lead and chase Moore.
"[That was good to see], especially with Klubes," Francona said. "He's been pitching from behind so much. They scored first, but for us to come back and then, not just come back, but take the lead, when you're in the fourth game of a series, that's a hard one to win. You know you're going to get their best relievers."
Locked when loaded: Following Moore's departure in the fifth, the Indians loaded the bases with two outs for Carlos Santana. The first baseman popped an 0-2 pitch from Steve Geltz into foul ground, where catcher Rene Rivera caught the ball for a rally-ending out. The Indians have hit .131 (8-for-61) with bases loaded this season, including a 1-for-8 showing from Santana.
Rays rally: Tampa Bay finally broke through again versus Kluber in the sixth, on Kevin Kiermaier's double and Grady Sizemore's RBI single. The Rays knotted things up at 4 when a sharp grounder from Asdrubal Cabrera skipped off the glove of diving Santana, scoring Sizemore.
Extra effort: Aviles' homer in the the 10th came after setup man Bryan Shaw followed Kluber's strong start with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"I was just going up there trying to be aggressive," Aviles said. "We had a quick inning with Klubes [in the eighth]. He punched out the side. I just went up there and I was looking for a pitch [so] I could get on base. I got one a little up and was able to drive it."
Allen slams door:Cody Allen struck out all three batters he faced in the 10th to secure his 15th save, while also capping off a 19-strikeout performance from the Rays' offense that set a franchise record.
"I think it's due to Corey Kluber," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The guy led all of the American League last year in strikeouts. It's the same type of stuff that we faced the last two nights. It's elite stuff. Sometimes you get those guys and it's very difficult to piece runs together, manufacture runs, and I thought we did a nice job of that, but the strikeouts are going to come when you're facing that kind of stuff."
"I haven't thought once about the All-Star Game. I don't know how many guys with the traditional statistics that I have make an All-Star Game. I think everybody would obviously love to play in an All-Star Game, whether you've done it in the past or will go in the future. That's something anybody would enjoy, but that's far from anything that I'm focused on." -- Kluber, who is 3-9, but ranks in the top five in the American League in multiple categories
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kluber entered Thursday's start with the lowest run-support average (2.28 per game) among qualified Major League starters. The four runs scored by Cleveland marked the most in one of his outings while he was still the pitcher of record since May 28, when Kluber received five runs of support. The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 17 starts.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (6-5, 3.96 ERA) is slated to start for the Indians on Friday, when they head to PNC Park for a 7:05 p.m. ET Interleague tilt against the Pirates in the opener of a three-game set. Bauer has posted a 0.82 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 22 innings in his three Interleague outings this year. The young righty also boasts a tidy 1.69 ERA in his seven starts on the road.
Rays:Chris Archer (9-5, 2.31 ERA) allowed a career-high three home runs in his last start versus Boston, but will look to rebound against a team he's had success against, the Yankees, on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. In seven career starts against the Yanks, he is 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA and could become the seventh pitcher on record (since 1914) to begin his career 6-0 or better versus New York.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.