ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays spotted the Cleveland Indians a two-run first inning before scoring nine runs, as Ji-Man Choi, Tommy Pham, Avisail Garcia and Travis d'Arnaud all homered to give the Rays a 9-6 win and secure a series victory Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Cleveland's two runs came off a two-run homer by Carlos Santana against opener Diego Castillo. The right-hander has now allowed runs in four straight appearances dating back to August 20.
Tampa Bay cut into the deficit in the bottom of the second, as Choi took a Zach Plesac pitch leading off the inning and deposited it in the seats in right for his 12th home run of the season.
Jalen Beeks, who came in with one out in the second, put up another zero in the third, and Tommy Pham gave him the lead in the bottom of the inning with a blast that appeared to hit off the C-ring catwalk.
Tampa Bay added on to their lead in the sixth inning, as Avisail Garcia connected off reliever Tyler Clippard with a two-run homer, his 19th of the year, for a 5-2 lead, while former Ray Hunter Wood gave up an RBI single to Eric Sogard in the sixth and a solo home run to Travis d'Arnaud, his 15th of the year.
Wood would allow singles to Choi and Garcia before Phil Maton walked Kevin Kiermaier to load the bases and a groundout by Matt Duffy coupled with a throwing error by Santana allowed two more runs for a 9-2 advantage.
Kevin Cash looked to get the final six outs from Ricardo Pinto, just called up from Triple-A Durham, but after allowing a two-run homer to Francisco Lindor in the eighth and a two-run double to Greg Allen in the ninth, it forced the Rays skipper to bring in Emilio Pagan to finish out the game an earn his 16th save.
The win tightened the wild card race to just one half game between the Indians and both the Oakland A's and the Rays. Tampa Bay can finish the sweep with a victory Sunday.
Tampa Bay Rays (79-58) vs. Cleveland Indians (79-56), 1:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 11:00 am with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Charlie Morton (13-6, 3.11 ERA)
Indians starter: RHP Adam Plutko (6-3, 4.34 ERA)