ST. PETERSBURG -- For most of Tuesday night's 5-1 Rays win, Indians starter Corey Kluber was having the kind of night where any offense against the Tribe's ace appeared to be wishful thinking.Kluber had allowed one run through seven innings, and Rays hitters had been baffled by the right-hander."You're hoping
ST. PETERSBURG -- For most of Tuesday night's 5-1 Rays win, Indians starter Corey Kluber was having the kind of night where any offense against the Tribe's ace appeared to be wishful thinking.
Kluber had allowed one run through seven innings, and Rays hitters had been baffled by the right-hander.
"You're hoping for somebody to get into scoring position then a bloop and a broken-bat single, whatever," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "... he's just got so much late action. Keeps the ball down. You see what he does, he just peppers ground balls and strikeouts. So, he's like Roy Halladay back in the day. Cut-sink combination. Just tough to square up."
With the game tied at one in the eighth, pesky center fielder Kevin Kiermaier managed to give the Rays some hope by drawing a one-out walk. Then he stole second on a pitch that Hank Conger swung at and missed for strike three and the second out.
"I just figured he'd go breaking ball right there, and he did," Kiermaier said. "And I thought I got a good jump. For it to be as close as it was, [Indians catcher] Yan Gomes has an absolute cannon out there. ... I just tried to get into scoring position right there where a base hit would have scored me. I was getting a big primary and secondary lead. Just trying to do whatever it took right there."
Logan Forsythe then stepped to the plate and fell behind 0-2.
"We had KK on base and got him to second," Forsythe said. "My thought process was Kluber was great all night. He was hitting his spots in and out and a lot on 0-2 and on pitcher's pitches. I just really wanted to bear down and get something through the infield where KK was going to score."
Forsythe managed to work the count to 3-2 before squaring one up for a go-ahead home run over the left-field wall.
"I was trying to see the ball as much as I could," Forsythe said. "He came up fastball over the plate, and [I] just got the barrel to it."
Both of Forsythe's home runs this season have been two-run shots in the eighth that gave the Rays a lead.
Forsythe's homer put the Rays up 3-1 and chased Kluber. But the Rays weren't finished yet. After Cody Allen entered the game in relief and walked Logan Morrison, Evan Longoria connected on a 3-2 pitch and launched one into the left-field stands for his second home run of the season and a 5-1 Rays lead.
Longoria has now homered twice in his last three games. He did not hit his second homer until May 6 last season, in the Rays' 28th game. He likes this year's offense.
"We are a lot more confident than we were last year at this point," Longoria said. "That helps from top to bottom. That helps guys' mindsets when you are comfortable knowing that the guys in front of you and behind you are going to swing the bat with confidence as well."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.