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CLEVELAND -- Alex Cobb dodged trouble for nearly seven innings and the Tampa Bay Rays pitched their way to another must-have win on the road, beating the Cleveland Indians 4-0 on Wednesday night in the AL wild-card game.
Cobb, who missed a chunk of the regular season after he was hit in the head by a line drive, quieted a thundering Cleveland crowd and ended the Indians' unexpected season.
Delmon Young homered in the third inning off rookie Danny Salazar as the Rays, playing in their third city over four days, advanced to face the AL East champion Boston Red Sox in the division series starting Friday.
Cobb's comeback in August from his frightening injury helped stabilize the Rays, who have spent the past two weeks winning crucial games to make the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
It's a moment Indians baseball fans have been awaiting for 6 years... The return of playoff baseball to Cleveland.
From the first pitch to the final out, we documented all the action throughout the game here in our Tribe Fever game blog.
The pitching match-up featured Cleveland rookie Danny Salazar, 2-3 in the regular season with a 3.12 ERA, against Tampa Bay hurler Alex Cobb, 11- 3 in the regular season with a 2.76 ERA.
Now, onto the game action...
Progressive Field was rocking with a packed house!! 43,579 Indians fans on hand to cheer their team on.
Salazar's first pitch is a strike to Rays LF David DeJesus. On the next pitch, he flies out deep to CF Michael Bourn for the first out. The next batter, RF Wil Myers strikes out! Tampa 1B James Loney is the third batter of the inning. Salazar strikes him out!
Now it's the Tribe's turn! CF Michael Bourn, returning after missing several games with sore wrist, will lead off for the Indians. Bourn flies out to right on the first pitch he sees. 1B Nick Swisher steps up to the plate and after a meeting of the umpires is called out on a foul tip that comes close to hitting the ground, but ends up in the catcher's mitt. The Tribe faithful are not happy with the call. Replays clearly show it was the right one though. Now it's 2B Jason Kipnis' turn to see if he can get something going. He grounds out to end the inning.
After one inning, we're scoreless. Rays - 0 Indians - 0
3B Evan Longoria kicks off the second frame for the Rays. He becomes Danny Salazar's third strikeout of the night! The Rays now send 2B Ben Zobrist to the plate and he fouls out to Tribe #B Lonnie Chisenall. Talk about deja vu, Desmond Jenning, Tampa's CF, flies out to Chisenall to end the Ray's inning.
DH Carlos Santana leads off the bottom of the second inning for the Indians but grounds out. Next up, LF Michael Brantley lines out to center field. RF Ryan Raburn steps into the batter box to try and get a little two out magic going. And he does with a double!! SS Asdrubal Cabrera is up looking to give the Indians the first lead of the game. Unfortunately, he flies out to center field to end the inning.
Through two, it's still a scoreless tie: Rays - 0 Indians - 0
Tampa DH Delmon Young hammers Salazar's first pitch of the inning over the left field wall to give the Rays the game's first run. SS Yunel Escobar follows that with a fly out to right field. C Jose Molina proceeds to ground out to Kipnis for the second out of the inning. Back to the top of the order, and DeJesus flies out to shallow right field to end the inning .
The Indians send C Yan Gomes to the plate to start their half of the inning. Gomes sends a deep shot to left that is caught on the run by DeJesus. 3B Lonnie Chisenall jumps on the first pitch he sees for a single! Back to the top of the Tribe order we go with CF Michael Bourn and he strikes out. Fans are anxious, hoping Buckeye Nick Swisher can tie the game or give the Indians the lead. But he grounds out to end the inning.
After three, the Tribe trails Tampa: Rays - 1 Indians - 0
RF Wil Myers leads off the inning for the Rays. He becomes strikeout number four of the night for Salazar! 1B James Loney, who struck out in his first at bat, lines a single to right field. Now 3B Evan Longoria is up to bat. He bounces a hit between third base and the shortstop. Two on with one out. 2B Zobrist is up and shows bunt but ends up flying out to right. Loney moves to third. Runners on the corners with two outs. Desmond Jennings lines a double to left field. Loney and Longoria score. Rays take a 3-0 lead. Salazar intentionally walks Delmon Young. The Indians bullpen is up and active. Yunel Escobar grounds out to end the top of the inning, but the Rays manage to increase their lead over the Indians and now lead by 3 runs.
2B Jason Kipnis leads off the fourth for Cleveland and grounds out to start the inning. C Carlos Santana digs in for the Tribe and shoots a hit down the right field line for a double! LF Michael Brantley follows that with a single up the middle and Santana advances to third. Indians at the corners with one out and RF Ryan Raburn up to bat. Raburn takes a walk to load the bases. Now it's SS Asdrubal Cabrera's turn to put some numbers on the board for the Indians. Tampa's bullpen starts to get busy. Cabrera hits into a 6-3-1 inning ending double play.
Following four innings: Rays - 3 Indians - 0
Rays C Jose Molina starts the inning off with a walk and that means the end of the night for Indians pitcher Danny Salazar as manager Terry Francona goes to the bullpen. Matt Rzepczynski comes in to face LF David DeJesus and strikes him out for the inning's first out. Francona goes back to the bullpen and brings in Brian Shaw to take on RF Wil Myers. He strikes him out! 1B Loney comes to the plate but Indians catcher Yan Gomes throws out Molina trying to steal second to end the top half of the inning.
Following his defensive gem in the top half of the inning, Yan Gomes comes to the plate to try and get momentum back on the Tribe's side. And he delivers with a lead-off double!! 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, who doubled earlier, lines a single to right field and Gomes moves to third. Two on, nobody out. CF Michael Bourn is up and strikes out. Nick Swisher comes to the plate and grounds out to first. The Indians narrowly miss getting caught up in a double play when Gomes tries to go home but there is no one covering third when he heads back as the throw comes home. Runners at second and third with two outs and 2B Jason Kipnis at the plate. He hits a weak tapper to the pitcher and another potential Indians rally comes up short.
After five, it's still Rays - 3, Indians - 0.
Indians pitcher Brian Shaw gets Tampa 1B James Loney to fly out to start the inning. He follows that up by striking out 3B Evan Longoria. 2B Ben Zobrist lines it to Swisher for the third out of the Rays' inning.
C Carlos Santana leads off the bottom frame for the Indians and he gets called out on strikes. LF Michael Brantley steps in to the batter's box and hits a grounder to the third baseman who throws him out at first. RF Ryan Raburn is up and strikes out to end the inning.
Six innings in the books and it's Rays - 3, Indians - 0.
Shaw stays in the game and Jennings hits a deep liner to left to lead off the Rays' inning. Terry Francona makes another call to the bullpen and brings out former starter Justin Masterson. Tampa makes a substitution, subbing in Sam Fuld as a pinch runner for Desmond Jennings at first. Masterson gets Delmon Young to strike out for the first out of the inning. Yunel Escobar taps the next pitch to the mound and Masterson makes the easy toss to Swisher for out number two. Jose Molina is the next batter and he strikes out to turn the inning over to the Tribe. Fans are starting to get noisy again. Time for the seventh inning stretch.
Asdrubal Cabrera leads off the seventh for the Indians with a grounder to the second baseman who throws to first to get Cabrera out. Yan Gomes is back up to bat and lands a single into right field for the Tribe's seventh hit of the night. Lonnie Chisenhall comes to the plate with two hits under his belt. He gets his third hit of the night! Two on, one out and the tying run comes to the plate in the form of Michael Bourn. Bourn flies out to left field for the second out but it's not deep enough for the runners to advance. Two on with two outs and Tampa manager Joe Madden makes his first call to the bullpen, bringing on Joel Peralta to face Nick Swisher. Swisher strikes out and the Indians miss another opportunity to put runs on the board with runners in scoring position.
We go to the eighth, Rays - 3, Indians - 0.
Masterson remains on the hill for the Indians. David DeJesus leads off for the Rays and gets hit by a pitch. Wil Myers is the next batter and he hits a grounder to third and beats out the throw for a single. James Loney hits into a 5-4-3 double play leaving a runner at third with two outs. Evan Longoria steps up to the plate and hits a sharp liner to third but Chisenhall makes an amazing grab to end the scoring threat.
Six outs left for the Indians to make a comeback. Jason Kipnis will try and get something going. Defensive changes for the Rays as Kevin Kiermaier takes over in center field for Myers. Kipnis pops up for the first out. Carlos Santana follows with a single to left field! Michael Brantley flies out to left field for out number two. Tampa goes to the bullpen with one out and two on. Jake McGee comes on to face Ryan Raburn and strikes him out on a 99 mph fastball.
Eight in the books, Rays - 3, Indians - 0.
Cody Allen has come on to pitch for the Indians. Ben Zobrist greets him with a single to right field. Rays RF Sam Fuld makes his first plate appearance of the night and strikes out. That's it for Allen as Terry Francona goes back to the bullpen bringing in sidearm hurler Joe Smith. The first batter he'll face is Delmon Young who bounces a hit off the glove of 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. Zobrist advances to third. Runners on the corners with one out. Ouch! Escobar hits a ball off the glove of Swisher. A run scores and the lead is up to 4 with runners on first and second with one out. Smith gets Jose Molina to strike out for the inning's second out. David DeJesus flies out to end the Rays' ninth. Down four with three outs left. Can the Tribe perform one more miracle comeback?
The Indians' last chance to keep playing in October will come against Fernando Rodney. Asdrubal Cabrera leads off and strikes out. Now it's up to Yan Gomes to get something going but a broken bat hit gets him thrown out at first. Lonnie Chisenhall, with three hits on the night, is up and he strikes out.
And with that, a surprising Indians season ends in a 4 - 0 wild card loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.