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Oscar Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the 15th inning to give the Cleveland Guardians a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
Gonzalez ended that marathon game and Cleveland’s two-game winning streak in the first round.
He hit starter Corey Kluber, who came in for him.
Gonzalez, a rookie, ended the longest postseason hitless streak in major league history with his first home run.
“I don’t think at that point we were worried about who was going to hit the ball,” Guardians manager Terry Francona admitted. He could have been a veteran. We didn’t care. We don’t have a favorite. I was happy he hit him. »
As Gonzalez circled the bases and his teammates gathered around home plate to greet him, the 34,971 fans enjoyed another moment of joy in the Guardians’ surprising season.
Cleveland has defied predictions all year in its first season with the name: Guardians. The team unexpectedly won the central part of the American and swept the more experienced Rays.
The only point was scored on the 432nd throw in an almost five-hour game. Over 14 innings, the two teams combined for just eleven hits, six for Tampa and five for Cleveland.
Cleveland had a great chance to take the lead in the sixth inning, but the Ohio club was unable to send a runner home despite the bases loaded and no outs.
Jose Ramirez kept the score clean with a spectacular play in the 12th inning as he took the ball near the line at third base before bringing it back off balance at first base to end the inning as the Rays had runners on the bases. A video replay was required to confirm that first baseman Josh Naylor remained on the pad.
Despite allowing three hits in three innings, Sam Hentges picked up the win. In each inning, he managed to end the game with six strikeouts.
Tampa Bay was quickly eliminated in its fourth straight playoff appearance. The Rays ended the season with seven straight losses and had just one run and nine hits in that short streak.
The 4-hour, 57-minute game was the longest in playoff history, surpassing the 13-inning 2020 Nationals curtain-raiser between the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. The teams had a total of 39 outs, two more than the previous record for a playoff game.
The Guardians, MLB’s youngest team, now face the New York Yankees in the next round starting on Tuesday.