CLEVELAND — It took 4 excruciating hours and 57 agonizing minutes to squeeze one run out of Game 2 of this wild-card playoff series, but don’t just go by the numbers when digesting Cleveland’s 1-0, 15-inning clincher over Tampa Bay in front of 34,971 wrung-out, jubilant fans on a wild Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Though the Guardians and Rays had played the longest scoreless tie by innings in postseason history before Oscar Gonzalez smashed a homer against former Cleveland ace Corey Kluber to send Tampa Bay to sudden death and Cleveland to Recent York to guide off the underside of the fifteenth, this was about way over the combined 39 strikeouts, 432 total pitches and one measly run.
“The best way the fans reacted,” Gonzalez marveled afterward, soaked in champagne.
“I saw guys attempting to do an excessive amount of,” Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Money said.
“You’re attempting to rejoice,” Cleveland Manager Terry Francona said. “However it’s agony at the identical time. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The youngest team in the sport will fly to Recent York on Sunday to start preparations for Game 1 of a division series against the Yankees on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. How the Guardians arrived at this moment after two games over 29 hours from lunchtime Friday through dinnertime Saturday is a study in resilience, stick-to-itiveness and an exquisite collection of arms.
In its two-game sweep, Cleveland outscored Tampa Bay by a cumulative total of 3-1 — over 24 innings. The whole thing of the Rays’ offense was Jose Siri’s solo home run within the sixth inning Friday. It was the one mistake Guardians starter Shane Bieber made. It was more of the identical dominance by Cleveland’s Game 2 starter Triston McKenzie and relievers James Karinchak, Trevor Stephan, Emmanuel Clase, Nick Sandlin, Eli Morgan, Enyel De Los Santos and Sam Hentges on Saturday.
“Today was greater than anyone could have asked for,” said Cleveland’s pitching coach, Carl Willis, who acknowledged he was pondering back to Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, when Minnesota beat Atlanta, 1-0, in 10 innings, because the afternoon wore on. Willis was a reliever in that Twins bullpen then.
Because the drama built, it looked as if the sixth inning would haunt the Guardians, who loaded the bases with none out and did not rating of their best opportunity. Money called for Pete Fairbanks, who often closes, to begin the inning since it was obvious that run prevention was key on this series. But Fairbanks walked the primary two batters he faced, clearly wasn’t right and was hooked. Later, the Rays announced he was affected by right index finger numbness.
Your complete stadium nearly went numb within the twelfth when, with two out and runners on the corners, Tampa Bay’s Manuel Margot rifled a bouncer down the third final analysis. José Ramírez made an incredible play to field it in foul territory. Then, nearly from the third-base coach’s box, he fired across the diamond to first baseman Josh Naylor, whose stretch nearly belied imagination. The Rays asked for a review, claiming Naylor pulled his foot from the bag, but he didn’t. Inning over.
It was one in all two acrobatic, game-changing plays with Ramírez and Naylor on the business ends. And when Gonzalez blasted the game-winning homer, it produced this twist: All three runs Cleveland scored on this series got here on homers (Ramírez’s two-run homer within the sixth inning was the difference in Game 1).
This from a team that ranked twenty ninth within the majors this 12 months with just 127 homers. Only Detroit, with 110, hit fewer.
“It was probably the most fun game I’ve ever played in,” said Cleveland second baseman Andrés Giménez.
This from a man who struck out five times in five plate appearances.
“But obviously, we won,” Giménez said, roaming around the sphere afterward in the course of the celebration, taking all of it in. “That’s what’s most significant. A foul day doesn’t mean it’s a nasty day. We won. The fellows did an incredible job.”