A strong outing and one swing of the bat was all it took for Cleveland to get their first postseason win in five years. It was a pitching duel between the Shane's for most of this one, as there was no scoring until the fifth inning. In the top half of the fifth, Shane Bieber made his one mistake of the day, allowing a solo home run to Jose Siri.
It did not take long for the Guardiac Kids to respond, as Amed Rosario led off the sixth with a single to bring Jose Ramirez to the plate. Ramirez, who's been struggling since mid June, came into today hitting over .400 in his last 25 plate appearances. He added to that total by blasting a two-run go-ahead home run just over the wall in right center field.
It would not be the postseason in Cleveland without drama. Kevin Cash decided to use his challenge to see if Amed Rosario touched second base on the home run. After a short review, the call on the field was confirmed. Jose Ramirez used the pause in play to give the crowd of more than 30,000 people a curtain call as they chanted his name. Guardians took a 2-1 lead and never looked back from that point onwards. Ramirez is only the third player in franchise history to hit a go-head home run in the sixth inning or later in the postseason, the first since Marquis Grissom against the Orioles in 1997.
Other than the homer to Ramirez, Shane McClanahan was fantastic for the Rays today. He gave Tampa Bay seven strong innings, allowing only the two runs. Luckily for Cleveland, Bieber was even better. Bieber pitched into the eighth inning for the Guards. He recorded the first two outs and was then pulled after allowing a single to pinch hitter Isaac Paredes. He exited to a standing ovation, as he went 7.2 innings, allowing only one run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked only one.
Once Beiber exited the ballgame, Terry Francona handed the baseball to the best closer in baseball for the four out, anti climatic save on only 11 pitches.
With the win, It will be all hands on deck for Game 2 to try and close the series out to head out to New York for the American League Division Series. One thing the "Guardiac Kids" have showed us all year is that no moment is too big for them. That seems to have continued into the postseason.
Triston McKenzie will toe the rubber for the Guardians while the Rays counter with right hander Tyler Glasnow. First pitch is scheduled for Saturday at 12:07 p.m.
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