St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Aviles capped a five-run seventh inning with a three-run homer, and the Cleveland Indians held off Tampa Bay, 6-3, to extend their season-high winning streak to four games.
Michael Brantley clubbed the tying homer in the seventh before Aviles launched his second of the year to left off Brandon Gomes. Yan Gomes gave the Indians the lead with an RBI single.
Cleveland's Corey Kluber (3-3) had nine strikeouts and allowed nine hits and a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings. Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi logged a career-high 11 strikeouts while giving up five hits in five scoreless frames.
"For me when I get in a jam or get runners on base, my biggest focus is to avoid a big inning," said Kluber.
David DeJesus drove in two runs for the Rays, who have lost four in a row overall and six straight at home. This marks their longest home losing streak within one season since June 2005 (6 games). The club-record home losing streak is 11 games in May-June 1999.
"It's crazy," said DeJesus. "We get the winning run on every night and we haven't been able to pull it out."
The last time these clubs met the Rays beat the Indians 4-0 in the American League Wild Card Game on Oct 2, 2013 at Progressive Field. This time, though, the Indians took control thanks to a big inning.
Brantley homered to right off Joel Peralta (1-3) leading off the seventh. Carlos Santana walked and Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center with one out. Brandon Gomes entered from the bullpen, but Yan Gomes reached out and hit the ball off the end of his bat into right field to drive in the go-ahead run. With two out, Aviles drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left.
Axford had trouble navigating in the ninth inning. He struck out the first two batters, but eventually loaded the bases before DeJesus doubled in Logan Forsythe. After walking Ben Zobrist to reload the bases, Axford was replaced by Cody Allen. James Loney worked the count to 3-2, but then flied out to right field to end the game. Allen got his first save of the year.
DeJesus doubled to start the home fourth and scored on James Loney's sacrifice fly. DeJesus doubled in Matt Joyce in the fifth.
Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, threw a simulated game Friday afternoon. He made 49 pitches and is expected throw in another simulated contest Monday ... Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar left the game after the second inning due to a right thumb contusion. He is day-to-day. Escobar was hurt when committing an error in the first on a grounder hit by Brantley. The ball deflected off Escobar's thumb ... Odorizzi was lifted after throwing 101 pitches.