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Rays: 6, Indians: 5 - HE-MAN CHOI

Battle of the Openers!

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Facing familiar faces, Rays would look to exact revenge against the Terminator Opener Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians. Rays would send out Opener Diego Castillo to take on the Klubot, and the scoring would start early with Edwin Encarnacion singling home Michael Brantley in the 1st to make it 1-0 Indians.

At the start, it looked like Corey Kluber was continuing his Cy Young bid, sitting down the Rays in order to start the game, but the Rays would answer in the 2nd with a Joey Wendle triple with only 1 out.

Willy Adames would put together a great at bat against Kluber and work a full count before sending a rocket back up the middle to make it 1-1 Rays. Two batters later, Jake Bauers would break out of his slump with this 2-run HR to give the Rays a 3-1 lead.

Rays would continue the barrage and almost bat around in the inning. Nick Ciuffo would double, followed by a 4 pitch walk to Mallex Smith, Single to Tommy Pham, and a Ji-Man Choi HBP to walk in a run and make it 4-1 Rays and chase out Kluber.

The Indians would not go down without a fight, putting runners on in every inning except the 2nd. After Diego Castillo, who went 2.0 IP and 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 1 K, Jalen Beeks would come on. Beeks’ would allow the Indians to break through in the 5th after a single by Lindor and back to back doubles by Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez would make it 4-2 Rays and Edwin Encarnacion up. Kevin Cash made a power call and send Ryne Stanek, who would sit EE down on three pitches. From then it was match game, with Kevin Cash going to Adam Kolarek to face lefty Yonder Aolanso. Short day for the best opener in baseball.

Rays bats stayed quiet, while the Indians bats continue to put pressure on the Rays bullpen. Kolarek would come back on for the 6th inning and give up singles to Melky Cabrera and Yan Gomes, with Brandon Guyer pinch hitting. Adam Kolarek had Guyer to a 0-2 count before hitting a long ball to Mallex Smith in centerfto clear the bases and tie the game.

Jose Ramirez would single handly give Cleveland the lead by getting hit with a Chaz Roe slider, then stealing 2nd and 3rd between a Encarnacion strikeout. Yoder Alonso hit a sharp ground ball to Brandon Lowe, who made a great stop moving to his left, but was unable to field it cleanly and throw Jose Ramirez out at home. 5-4 Cleveland.

Rays would threat in the 7th with a Ji-Man Choi fly ball hooking foul in the 7th, but ultimately strikeout to end the inning.

Rays had another chance in the 8th inning with two outs. Willy Adames drew a walk, and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cody Allen. Brandon Lowe would also draw a walk, and the Rays had runners on the corners with 2 outs and Jake Bauers up to the plate.

That would be your final, as the Rays couldn’t ever get it going and looked off all day. Still, they only lost by 1, but at this stage of the season, every win counts, and the marginal playoff hopes grow increasingly smaller with every loss.

Rays look to get back on track with Blake Snell taking on Shane Beiber tomorrow.

I literally had this recap ready to publish, because the Rays looked out of it all night all the way until the last out of the 9th inning. Facing closer Brad Hand, and down 1-2 with 2 outs, Tommy Pham squeezes a base hit single past the infield, bringing his hitting streak to 14!

And then:

Ji. Man. Choi. This team is absolute Magic.