CLEVELAND — David Fry delivered a two-run double with one out in the ninth inning as the Cleveland Guardians recovered from closer Emmanuel Clase blowing another save and rallied to beat the AL-East leading Baltimore Orioles 9-8 on Friday night.
After Clase (3-9) allowed the Orioles to take the lead on Aaron Hicks’ two-run, two-out double in the top of the inning, his teammates bailed him out.
Andrés Giménez, who made two dazzling defensive plays in the eighth and ninth, opened the inning with a double off Yennier Cano (1-4). One out later, the Orioles intentionally walked Will Brennan to face Fry.
Cleveland’s catcher jumped on Cano’s first pitch, hitting it off the wall in left-center to score both runners as the Guardians spoiled what would have been a memorable comeback by the Orioles.
The loss kept Baltimore 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay. The Rays lost 6-2 to Toronto.
Anthony Santander had three hits and three RBIs for the Orioles.
The Guardians won’t make the postseason, but they got something of a late-season reward in getting back Shane Bieber after he missed 64 games.
The right-hander made his first start since July 9, returning from the injured list after being sidelined with elbow inflammation.
Bieber’s injury was a critical one for the Guardians, who didn’t have the 2020 AL Cy Young winner anchoring their staff during the heart of the season. He allowed five runs and six hits in five innings, but his comeback meant much more to Bieber and Cleveland than any stat line.
Baltimore was counting on starter Dean Kremer to give them a quality start to protect its tired bullpen, but the right-hander only got through 3 1/3 innings.
It didn’t help that Kremer’s defense let him down with two errors in the fourth, leading to three Cleveland runs.
Bieber had a costly throwing error in the third inning when the Orioles scored three times to take a 5-3 lead.
Ramón Urías tripled and scored on rookie Gunnar Henderson’ double. Adley Rutschman followed with a comebacker Bieber snagged neatly, and he had time to get Henderson breaking for third but rushed his throw, which was way off the bag.
Santander’s single scored Rutschman and Bieber was in jeopardy of letting it get away before getting a double play and strikeout.
With Baltimore’s bullpen taxed during a difficult stretch, the team recalled right-hander Tyler Wells from Triple-A Norfolk to help.
He was needed right away, pitching two scoreless innings.
Wells was one of the AL’s top starters in the first half of the season. However, the 6-foot-8 right-hander was sent down following the All-Star break and has been pitching in relief. The 29-year-old was a reliever in 2021 and Hyde indicated he could be used in a variety of roles.
“We’re hoping he can help us in that back half of the game,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re looking for guys to get outs right now. They’re pretty fatigued in the bullpen.”
The Guardians honored Cleveland-born rapper Kid Cudi with a bobblehead giveaway.
Cudi’s appearance caused quite a pregame stir amongst the Guardians with pitching coach Carl Willis posing for a picture with him in the dugout.
While manager Terry Francona admitted not knowing Cudi’s work, he was familiar with Taylor Swift’s guitarist Paul Sidoti, another Cleveland-area native who threw out a ceremonial first pitch before playing the national anthem.
“Love him, love her,” said Francona.
Guardians: Rookie C Bo Naylor was removed in the fifth with a bruised right thumb. David Fry replaced him behind the plate.
Guardians RHP Cal Quantrill (3-6, 5.26 ERA) starts against Orioles LHP John Means (0-1, 3.60), who makes just his third start in 17 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.