Guardians Squander Promising Start And Drop Second 10-Inning Game To Giants

Cleveland Guardians v San Francisco Giants

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 13: J.D. Davis #7 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three-run home run against the Cleveland Guardians in the eighth inning at Oracle Park on September 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California.Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Shortly after the Cleveland Guardians began their series finale against the San Francisco Giants, they gained half a game in the AL Central with the Minnesota Twins' loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. This presented a golden opportunity for the Guardians to end a day closer to the Twins since August 23rd (excluding three head-to-head victories over the Twins in that span). On that day the Twins lost to the Milwaukee Brewers while the Guardians' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended after two innings due to rain.

Needing today's victory to climb within 6.5 games the Guardians' offense early on was explosive and opportunistic. After Steven Kwan walked, Jose Ramirez belted his 23rd home run of the season to put the Guardians ahead 2-0 early. With his 215th career homer, Ramirez passed Andre Thornton for 8th place in franchise history and tied Larry Doby for 7th. Later Josh Naylor and Andres Gimenez each singled and got into scoring position, and scored with two outs as Gabriel Arias reached base on a throwing error, doubling the lead to 4-0 before the Giants' response in the bottom of the frame.

Austin Slater and Thairo Estrada hit back-to-back singles to start, then with two outs Slater scored on Luis Matos's single in part due to a fielding error to cut the Guardians' lead to 4-1. However, the Guardians pushed back ahead by four in the second after Steven Kwan singled, stole second, and scored on Josh Naylor's second single, giving Cleveland a 5-1 lead.

On the other side, starter Logan Allen overwhelmed the Giants' lineup through five innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out five. Then reliever Nick Sandlin retired the Giants in order in the sixth. Next, Enyel De Los Santos induced a double play to begin the seventh, but gave up back-to-back hits, allowing the Giants to cut the Guardians' lead back to three: first a double to Thairo Estrada, then a single to Wilmer Flores made it a 5-2 game after seven innings.

Eli Morgan entered in the eighth aiming to set up at least the first three of the Guardians' series-clinching outs. However, what started as a promising game quickly became a distant memory as Joc Pederson got hit by a pitch and Patrick Bailey singled. Then with two aboard, J.D. Davis launched a towering blast to left field, just over Steven Kwan's glove and barely clearing the wall for the game-tying, three-run home run, setting the score at five apiece before Sam Hentges finished the inning.

Emmanuel Clase held the Giants scoreless in the ninth, but the Guardians offense was silenced in the 10th and the game entered the bottom of the frame with Xzavion Curry on the hill. With Patrick Bailey, the Giants' automatic runner and potential game-winning run on second base, Curry walked the first two hitters and loaded the bases with no outs. Then Brandon Crawford hit a fly ball deep enough to left for Bailey to tag up, and slide underneath Bo Naylor at home plate, just beating Steven Kwan's throw and giving the Giants their second 10th inning walk-off win in the series, 6-5 - confirmed after the Guardians challenged the call.

While the Giants mounted their comeback, the Guardians' offense failed to score despite gathering seven of its 12 hits past the second inning including three doubles. After the second inning, the Guardians stranded five runners in scoring position including the automatic runner in the 10th inning.

With today's loss the Guardians (69-78) remain 7.5 games behind the Twins (76-70) in the Central with 15 to go, and have an elimination number of nine. That means any combination of nine Twins wins and/or Guardians losses would eliminate Cleveland from winning the division. The Guardians trail the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners by 12.5 games in the Wild Card race and have an elimination number of five.

The Guardians are off tomorrow, and will host the Texas Rangers (80-64) on Friday at 7:10 PM for the first of a three game series.

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