The win marks the end to an 11 game losing streak for the Indians.
CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: The video in the player above is from a story published on July 23, 2021.
Bobby Bradley’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning capped Cleveland’s comeback and sent the Indians to a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, ending the Indians’ losing streak against the Rays at 11 games.
On the verge of being swept and dropping under .500 for the first time since May 1, the Indians, who managed just one run in seven innings against Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough, rallied in the eighth off reliever Matt Wisler (3-4).
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Hernandez, who homered in the first, led off with a single before Wisler hit Amed Rosario on the hand. After an RBI single by Harold Ramirez, Bradley hit a fly to center deep enough to score Rosario ahead of Kevin Kiermaier’s throw.
James Karinchak (7-2) pitched one inning and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 12th save — and first since June 16 — as the Indians won for just the sixth time in 22 games.
Nelson Cruz hit his second homer in three games for Tampa Bay.
Cruz, who joined the Rays on Friday after the club acquired him a trade with Minnesota, connected in the sixth off Triston McKenzie for his 438th homer to tie Hall of Famer Andre Dawson for 45th place on the career list.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona missed his second straight game, staying home to rest and recover from a nasty head cold he caught during the team’s recent road trip.
Cruz, who homered in his debut for Tampa Bay on Friday, gave the Rays a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his 21st homer of 2021. The potent designated hitter drove a 1-1 pitch from McKenzie over the wall in center for a solo shot.
Hernandez led off the first with his 17th homer. It was the second baseman’s 18th career leadoff homer, and his fifth in 2021.
Shane Bieber’s recovery from shoulder soreness isn’t progressing as quickly as the Indians hoped.
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The reigning AL Cy Young winner has been on the injured list since June 14. He’s playing catch at 60 feet, and isn’t ready to move to the mound.
President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti indicated the right-hander isn’t close to coming back.
“It’s just been a little bit slower to respond than maybe we had hoped,” he said. “It’s just something that’s just lingering in there a little bit. He’s continued to feel better, but maybe just not at the pace that we would have normally expected.”
If the Indians continue to fade from playoff contention, it’s possible they could shut down the All-Star for the rest of 2020.
Bieber was 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA before the Indians placed him on the IL.