St. Petersburg, FL – Zach McAllister pitched six strong innings to help the Cleveland Indians edge the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2, in the opener of a four-game set.
McAllister (4-1) won his third straight decision as he gave up just one run on three hits for the Indians, who had lost three of four coming in. Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored while Jason Kipnis added two hits and an RBI.
"McAllister started the game a little shaky," Acta said. "Then he got into a very good groove. It was a terrific recovery after the way he started."
Desmond Jennings hit a solo home run while Jeff Keppinger drove in the other run for the Rays, who have lost six of their last nine. Alex Cobb (4-6) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in the start as he gave up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
"Learn to fight when things are tough and go into the next outing with a positive outlook," Cobb said of his rough start.
Choo hit a fly ball off the top of the wall in center field to start the game and it was initially ruled a home run, but an umpire review resulted in the homer being overturned and Choo was given a double. He then moved to third on a groundout by Asdrubal Cabrera and, after being held at third on a Kipnis groundout, came home on a passed ball charged to Jose Molina.
The third inning saw Cleveland plate two more runs. Johnny Damon doubled to start the inning and came home when Choo followed with his second double in as many at-bats. Kipnis then hit a two-bagger two batters later for a 3-0 lead.
Tampa didn't get its first hit of the game until B.J. Upton singled to start the fourth. Luke Scott followed with a single to put runners at the corners and Keppinger followed with a line drive off the right elbow of McAllister to score a run.
McAllister appeared to be a bit shaken up on the play, but after a few warmup pitches, he got Jennings to hit into a double play and induced a groundout from Molina to end the inning.
Jennings cut the deficit in half on the first pitch of the seventh as he crushed a fastball deep over the left field wall for his sixth homer of the year.
Esmil Rogers, who began the inning on the mound, then set down the next two batters, but walked Will Rhymes. Tony Sipp then took the hill and walked Sean Rodriguez, prompting yet another change as Vinnie Pestano came out. He was able to get out of the jam by striking out Ben Zobrist to end the inning.
Pestano stayed on for the eighth and had to get out of another tough spot. After striking out Upton to start the frame, Scott singled and quickly stole second. After Keppinger flied out, Jennings beat out an infield single to put runners on the corners. Brooks Conrad then worked the count full, but Pestano froze him with a slider for the strikeout looking.
Chris Perez worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Hideki Matsui looking to end the game and pick up his 26th save of the season.
Cleveland center fielder Michael Brantley went 0-for-1 with three walks to have his 13-game hitting streak stopped...Five Tampa relievers pitched 5 2/3 innings of three-hit, three-walk ball...The Rays left nine men on base while the Indians stranded eight...These teams split a four-game series in Cleveland heading into the All-Star break.