José Ramírez with a home run and brilliant pitching by Shane Bieber give the Guardians their first win

José Ramírez hit a two-run homer, Shane Bieber dominated Tampa Bay for 7 2/3 innings and the young Cleveland Guardians played with poise in their postseason debut, beating the Rays 2-1 in the wild card. opening on Friday.

Ramirez’s shot off Shane McClanahan in the sixth inning helped Cleveland end an eight-game postseason losing streak and put the club one win away from advancing in their first season as the Guardians.

Bieber, who made his only other playoff appearance two years ago, allowed just three hits and struck out eight before being lifted with a runner in the eighth.

Emmanuel Clase took it from there, getting four outs for his first postseason save and finishing a game that took just 2 hours, 17 minutes. The Cleveland closer led the majors with 42 saves in the regular season.

José Siri homered for the Rays, who lost their sixth straight game overall and must win Game 2 on Saturday to force a decisive Game 3. The series winner faces the American League East champion New York Yankees in the Division Series beginning Tuesday in the Bronx.

With 17 players making their MLB debuts, the Guardians entered with no playoff experience. However, Ramirez and Bieber have been here before, and both came through for the AL Central champions.

And the Guardians, who played “small ball” all season to win an unexpected division title, leaned on power for this win.

With Cleveland down 1-0 and with no outs, Ramirez delivered, as usual.

Amed Rosario singled with one out in the sixth off McClanahan, and Ramirez, a four-time All-Star who finished second to Aaron Judge in RBIs in the AL this season, drove in a 1-1 turnaround over the wall. for just his second postseason. home run in 97 at-bats.

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As fans waving red towels at Progressive Field screamed, Rays manager Kevin Cash appealed if Rosario ruled second. Television replays showed Ramírez slowing down and touching the bag.

As the referees awaited an official decision, the crowd spontaneously sang "Joseph… Joseph… Joseph", like never before, prompting Ramírez to come out to touch the curtain. The home run stayed and Cleveland had a small lead that it protected.

Siri’s one-out homer in the sixth, just the second hit allowed by Bieber, gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. Siri flew into deep center in his first at-bat at third before throwing a 1-0 pitch over the fence.

Tampa Bay didn’t get its first hit from Bieber until the fifth, when Harold Ramirez bounced a single to center field. But Bieber scrambled and got two outs before striking out Christian Bethancourt, the right-hander’s third strikeout to end an inning.

As he was lifted, Bieber received a thunderous applause which he tried to return by hitting his glove.

Both Shanes, McClanahan and Bieber were looking to bounce back from poor playoff starts.

As a rookie last season, McClanahan pitched five scoreless innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston. Called up to pitch in relief in Game 4, he allowed five runs and recorded just two outs and then took out his frustration on a chair in the tunnel at Fenway Park.

Bieber’s only postseason appearance was equally forgettable. In 2020, when he won the AL Cy Young Award leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA, Bieber was tagged for seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings against the Yankees in the wild card. Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer off him in the first.

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