Vander’s home run lifts Rays in dramatic finish

ST Petersburg, Fla. – Vander Franco led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run, and the wild-card Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Guardians 9-8 on Friday night.

Franco defeated Nick Sandlin (5-5). Cleveland tied the score at eight in the ninth with three runs on wild pitches.

The Guardians loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and a hit batter by closer Pete Fairbanks. The right-hander struck out Oscar Gonzalez, but hit a wild pitch that allowed a run before striking out Brian Rocchio.

Fairbanks allowed another run on another wild pitch and Robert Stephenson (2-4) walked Bo Naylor before hitting the tying run on his third wild pitch of the inning.

Isaac Paredes put the Rays ahead 5-4 with a liner in the sixth that ended Cleveland starter Xzavion Curry’s job.

For the Guardians, Venezuela’s Andres Gimenez was 4-2 with a run and an RBI; Brian Rocchio 4-1, two goals. Dominicans Jose Ramirez 4-1, one run scored; Oscar Gonzalez 2-0.

For the Rays, Dominican Vander Franco was 4-2 with two runs scored and three RBIs; Manuel Marcotte was 2-0 with an RBI. Cuban Yandy Diaz is 5-2, with one goal and one assist. Mexican-Cuban Randy Arosarena went 4-1 with one run and an RBI. Mexican Isaac Paredes scored a goal in a 3-1 victory, and two more goals were scored. Panamanian Christian Betancourt made it 2-0, scoring two runs.

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Wilmot Chandler

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