Rays poised to finish sweep of visiting Guardians

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The Tampa Bay Rays have worked some ninth-inning magic to wrap up back-to-back walk-off wins over the Cleveland Guardians, and on Sunday they go for a three-game sweep in St. Petersburg, Fla

Surf Girls Hawai’i star says she has something called ‘duck syndrome’

After Wander Franco homered to secure a 9-8 win on Friday, Randy Arozarena singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth for a 6-5 victory on Saturday

For the season, the Rays have six walk-off wins, with Arozarena contributing three of them

“It’s kind of the same thing he does in the postseason,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He seems to really elevate his game, his mindset, everything, when there’s a chance to do something big.

On Sunday, Tampa Bay turns to right-hander Zach Eflin (12-6, 3.34 ERA), their most reliable starter all season. The veteran has 129 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings, and his WHIP of 0.97 led the majors going into play on Saturday

Eflin has been especially effective at home, going 10-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 13 starts

In his last outing, Eflin went seven strong innings. He gave up one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals. In his last two starts, the 29-year-old has given up one earned run in 13 innings (0.69 ERA), with 13 strikeouts and no walks

Eflin has never faced the Guardians

The Guardians are going with rookie right-hander Tanner Bibee (8-2, 2.92), who will be making his 19th start, and first against Tampa Bay

In his last seven starts covering 42 1/3 innings, Bibee is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 14 walks. On the road, he’s 3-1 (with a 4.25 ERA) in nine starts. And in day games, Bibee is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA in seven starts

For much of the season, the Guardians have struggled offensively, but they’re coming off back-to-back strong games

On Friday, they scored eight runs and collected as many as 10 hits for the first time in 14 games. They even had a rare home run from outfielder Myles Straw, who went deep for the first time since Aug. 26, 2021

On Saturday, Cleveland added 13 hits and five runs

Facing the Rays is a bit of a homecoming for Straw. The 28-year-old attended St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Fla., about a three-hour drive from Tropicana Field

The Guardians are in an odd situation, given that they are six games under .500 but remain within 4 1/2 games of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. But they’re building around a young core

They added more veteran experience this month, picking up outfielders Kole Calhoun and Ramon Laureano

“Working off the deadline, there’s a great opportunity to see some of the younger guys here take some plate appearances,” Cleveland assistant general manager Eric Binder told the Guardians radio network. Calhoun and Laureano “bring a ton of major league experience. … They’ve been playing the game at a high level for multiple years, which is a nice complement to our young core.

–Field Level Medi

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