The Cleveland Guardians erased a 2-0 deficit Friday night, riding a five-run outburst in the sixth inning to beat the Texas Rangers, 6-3, and notch their fifth consecutive win.
The Guardians broke the game open in the sixth inning, trailing 2-1 as the Rangers turned the game over to their bullpen with Taylor Hearn on the mound in relief of starting pitcher Jon Gray. With one out and runners at the corners, Josh Naylor drilled an RBI double to the wall in right-center to tie the game. Oscar Gonzalez then muscled an RBI single into center field to plate the go-ahead run. The floodgates opened from there thanks to an RBI single by Andres Gimenez and a two-run single courtesy of Will Brennan, effectively turning a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead.
Gray had stymied the Guardians’ lineup through the first five frames, only giving up a hit, a walk, and an unearned run. That run came in the fourth inning after a leadoff triple by Amed Rosario. After getting Jose Ramirez to fly out to left field, Gray walked Naylor, who then stole second base, giving Rosario the opportunity to score when the throw down was off the mark.
On the mound for Cleveland, Cody Morris was workmanlike through five innings. The inning that got away from him was the second, which was saw him walk Adolis Garcia and Leody Taveras with one out. Morris nearly escaped, but Kevin Plawecki singled to center field with two outs.
Straw threw home to try and cut down Garcia but the throw was wide of home plate. To make matters worse, Luke Maile didn’t appear to make much of an effort to stop the ball and it went to the backstop. Inexplicably, Morris had planted himself on the first base side of home plate, as if the throw would be coming from left field. So he was nowhere near the ball as it blew past Maile, allowing Taveras to score easily to give the Rangers an early 2-0 lead.
The only other run scored by the Rangers was allowed by Eli Morgan in the sixth inning, though Emmanuel Clase had an eventful ninth inning in the process of closing out the game. He allowed a two-out opposite field single to Corey Seager before Nathaniel Lowe split Rosario and Gimenez with a single up the middle. Clase then hit Garcia in the wrist with a pitch to load the bases, but thankfully Josh Jung grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
With the Guardians’ win and the White Sox losing to the Tigers, the magic number drops to three.