EditorsNote: rewords fifth graf
Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run, walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays extended their home win streak to a franchise-record 12 games with a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
Choi hit an 0-1 fastball by reliever Brad Hand into the right field bleachers for his eighth homer of the season. The blast drove in Tommy Pham, who had extended the inning just before him with a weak ground single into right.
Jake Bauers also hit a two-run homer for the Rays. Jaime Schultz (2-0) picked up the win in relief.
Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley each had a single, a double and a run, and Brandon Guyer had a two-run, pinch-hit double for Cleveland, which lost for just the fourth time in its past 15 games at Tampa Bay. Hand (2-5) absorbed his first blown save since coming from San Diego in July.
The Indians were in position to win despite a rare poor outing by 18-game winner Corey Kluber, who recorded just five outs before getting chased. Kluber allowed four runs on five hits and a walk, all in the second inning. He was pulled after throwing a career-high 44 pitches in the inning.
It tied the shortest outing of the season for the two-time Cy Young Award winner, who also went 1 2/3 innings when he allowed six runs in a 11-2 loss against the Cardinals at St. Louis on June 26.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first when Brantley walked, took second on a wild pitch by Rays starter Diego Castillo, advanced to third on a groundout by Jose Ramirez and scored on a single to left by Edwin Encarnacion.
But Kluber, who struck out three of the first four batters he faced, then gave up a triple to Joey Wendle, who scored on a single by Willy Adames. After Brandon Lowe struck out, Bauers made it 3-1 with his 10th homer of the season, a 411-foot drive to right-center. The Rays then loaded the bases with a double by Nick Ciuffo, a walk by Mallex Smith and a single by an infield single by Pham.
Kluber departed after hitting Choi with a pitch to force in a run.
Cleveland cut the deficit to 4-2 in the fifth on an RBI double by Ramirez, driving in Lindor, who had singled. The Indians tied it in the sixth on a Guyer’s double to center.
Ramirez scored the go-ahead run in the seventh for Cleveland when he was hit by a pitch by Chaz Roe, stole both second and third base, then beat Lowe’s throw home on Yonder Alonso’s grounder against a drawn-infield.
—Field Level Media