Saturday, May 10, 2014
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Indians Rally Vs. Rays To Win Fourth Straight

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[May 10, 2014]  ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mike Aviles had barely finished circling the bases for a game-deciding three-run home run when Jason Kipnis, the injured All-Star second baseman he is temporarily replacing, tweeted that when he finally returns from an oblique injury he might have to do it as a pinch hitter.

"He's not coming back," Aviles joked after powering Cleveland's 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Friday. "I texted him and told him, 'Take your time.'"

The Indians certainly seem to be holding their own in the meantime.

Aviles' shot in the seventh inning gave Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber all the cushion he needed as the Indians came back to win their fourth in a row.

Cleveland, 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before the decisive seventh, abused the Rays' bullpen for five runs after being handled by Rays starter Jake Odorizzi for five innings.

"The game score didn't really reflect the way the game played out," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We had one really good inning, really."

Indians left fielder Michael Brantley's seventh homer of the season, leading off against reliever Joel Peralta (1-3), had tied the game, 2-2.

Cleveland then got a walk from third baseman Carlos Santana and a single from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (3-for-4) to chase Peralta, and catcher Yan Gomes singled home the go-ahead run off Brandon Gomes. Aviles, now batting .329, reached the left-field stands with his second homer of the season for a 6-2 lead.

"Way too many of those big innings have popped up against us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And they've led to several of our losses. We just need to get past that big-inning complex."

Kluber (3-3) allowed just two earned runs on nine hits with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

While the Rays' bullpen was torched, ruining a solid effort from Kluber, three Cleveland pitchers combined to allow just three hits and a run over the final 2 1/3 innings.

The ninth inning was an adventure, however, as John Axelrod allowed two doubles -- one from Rays DH David DeJesus (4-for-5) to score a run -- and two walks as the Rays trimmed the margin to 6-3. Right-hander Cody Allen entered with the bases loaded and retired first baseman James Loney for the final out and his first save of the season.

Cleveland improved to 17-19 as the Rays (15-21) lost for the fourth straight game and fell farther under .500 than at any point this season.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a sacrifice lineout to left field by Loney. DeJesus, who led off with a double and took third on a groundout, scored on Loney's 18th RBI.

DeJesus helped the Rays jump ahead 2-0 in the fifth by driving in his 10th run of the season. His single to left scored left fielder Matt Joyce, who had led off with a single.

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Odorizzi worked out of jams in the first, third, fourth and fifth, stranding runners with the help of six of his 11 strikeouts.

Odorizzi whiffed two batters to end the first after an error by shortstop Yunel Escobar put runners on first and second, then struck out two batters in the third after center fielder Michael Bourn led off with a triple.

Odorizzi struck out Aviles to end the fourth with runners on first and third. And after first baseman Nick Swisher doubled with one out and Santana walked with two down, he struck out his second batter in the fifth -- right fielder David Murphy -- to escape again.

Odorizzi allowed no runs, five hits and two walks in five innings but left after throwing 101 pitches. He steadied himself after a string of short and less productive outings.

"It's good to get back on the right track," he said. "It's just bittersweet that we couldn't pull it out today."

Cleveland broke through against reliever Brad Boxberger in the sixth on Cabrera's third homer of the season, but after the right-hander allowed two more baserunners left-hander Jake McGee retired the side.

NOTES: Rays CF Desmond Jennings, coming off a 1-for-15 slog in a three-game series sweep by the Baltimore Orioles, was replaced in the starting lineup by Brandon Guyer on Friday. ... Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (15-day disabled list, strained right oblique) has been cleared to commence "low-level" activity such as swinging a bat this weekend. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon won his fifth challenge in 14 attempts, having an out call against 2B Ben Zobrist at first base overturned and taking away an Indians double play in the first inning.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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