Ramírez homers, Clase gets 40th save as Guardians beat KC

Sep 30, 2022, 6:53 AM | Updated: 7:53 pm
Cleveland Guardians' Gabriel Arias (8) congratulates Jose Ramirez, who hit a three-run home run off...

Cleveland Guardians' Gabriel Arias (8) congratulates Jose Ramirez, who hit a three-run home run off Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

(AP Photo/Phil Long)

              Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale delivers to a Kansas City Royals batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale walks off the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Kansas City Royals' Drew Waters during the third inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Kansas City Royals' Michael Massey gestures after hitting a solo home run off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Kansas City Royals' Drew Waters is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale during the third inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Kansas City Royals' Drew Waters (6) is congratulated by Michael Massey after a two-run home run off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale during the third inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Guardians catcher Austin Hedges is at right. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez waits for the ball as Cleveland Guardians' Andres Gimenez scores on a single by Will Brennan during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Cleveland Guardians' Jose Ramirez watches his three-run home run off Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
            
              Cleveland Guardians' Gabriel Arias (8) congratulates Jose Ramirez, who hit a three-run home run off Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

CLEVELAND (AP) — José Ramírez hit a three-run homer and Emmanuel Clase worked a perfect ninth inning for his major league-leading 40th save in the Cleveland Guardians’ 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

Ramírez put AL Central champion Cleveland ahead for good at 4-3 in the sixth with his 29th home run of the season. The 404-foot blast off Brady Singer (10-5) gave the All-Star third baseman 121 RBIs — second in the AL behind New York’s Aaron Judge.

“Andrés Giménez called that homer,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said, laughing. “I said, ‘Double,’ but he just turned to me and goes, ‘No, home run.’ Give him credit.”

Austin Hedges followed with an RBI single, snapping an 0-for-36 slump, and Myles Straw drove in rookie Will Brennan to make it 6-3. Kansas City had taken a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.

“We opened the door in that inning for their guy (Ramírez) to do damage,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “And he did it.”

Cleveland has won 10 of 11 and is a major league-best 21-4 since Sept. 5. Kansas City dropped its fourth in a row as the teams opened a six-game series to end the regular season.

Aaron Civale (4-6) threw six innings, allowing three runs — two earned — in winning his second straight start. The right-hander gave up a two-run homer to Drew Waters and a solo shot to Michael Massey.

Clase worked the ninth for his 40th save in 44 opportunities, keeping him two saves ahead of Atlanta’s Kenley Jansen.

“Every year starts with that goal, and for me, it’s motivation to go into next year and try and get a higher number,” Clase said. “I feel like I’m in my best moment. I’m just excited to get to pitch every time I can and excited about the playoffs.”

Singer absorbed his first loss since Aug. 3, giving up six runs in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander was 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his previous nine starts, firmly establishing himself as Kansas City’s ace.

“Brady has set himself apart as an elite starter,” Matheny said. “He was great until the sixth inning, like he’s been all year. It’s a shame that his last one ended like that.”

Waters hit a two-run homer in the third, and Massey went deep in the fifth. Giménez led off the fifth with Cleveland’s first hit, then scored on Brennan’s single to cut Kansas City’s lead to 3-1.

Cleveland has not played a six-game series since 1963 against Washington. The Royals’ only other six-game set was in 1976 against Boston.

CREAM OF THE CROP

Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan have been major contributors all season, but are unlikely to beat out Seattle outfielder Julio Rodríguez for the Rookie of the Year award.

Witt leads AL rookies with 80 RBIs, 57 extra-base hits and 28 stolen bases, while Kwan ranks first with 165 hits, 88 runs and seven triples. Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña also are making pushes for the honor.

“The biggest thing is we’re talking about young players who are ambassadors for the game of baseball,” Matheny said. “The position players, in particular, are pretty impressive.”

Francona agreed, saying, “There are a pretty good handful of them this year. And they look like they’re ready to not just survive, but maybe thrive.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: LHP Anthony Gose (Tommy John surgery) is out for the season, giving Cleveland the chance to replace him on the 40-man roster with a prospect who would become eligible for the postseason.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (2-13, 5.81 ERA) is tied for third in the AL in losses, two behind leader Marco Gonzales of Seattle. Bubic has not won since July 24 against Tampa Bay, going 0-7 with a 6.14 ERA in his last 11 starts.

Guardians: RHP Zach Plesac (3-11, 4.39 ERA) will be activated from the injured list to make his first start since breaking his right hand on Aug. 27. Plesac is penciled in to pitch out of the bullpen in the wild-card round.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

No. 14 Maryland women beat Towson at Fort Myers Tip-Off

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Diamond Miller scored 20 points, Faith Masonius and Shyanne Sellers each added 14 and No. 14 Maryland beat Towson 81-70 on Saturday at the Fort Myers Tip-Off. Miller gave Maryland its first double-digit lead on the first basket of the fourth quarter to make it 59-49. Towson got as close […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Navy takes down Mount St. Mary’s 75-59

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Tyler Nelson scored 18 points as Navy beat Mount St. Mary’s 75-59 on Saturday. Nelson shot 7 for 8, including 4 for 4 from beyond the arc for the Midshipmen (5-1). Daniel Deaver scored 14 points while finishing 7 of 11 from the floor, and added six rebounds, six assists, and […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Loyola (MD) defeats UL Monroe 65-64

NICEVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Kenneth Jones scored with seven seconds left and David Brown III blocked a last-second shot and Loyola (MD) defeated UL Monroe 65-64 on Saturday. Chris Kuzemka’s 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting (4 for 7 from distance) led the Greyhounds (3-4). Jones was 5 of 12 shooting (1 for 4 […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Roberts has 17, Manhattan tops Army 72-71 in London

LONDON (AP) — Josh Roberts had 17 points in Manhattan’s 72-71 win over Army on Saturday. Coleton Benson made three free throws with 16 seconds left to pull Army within one. The Jaspers then missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 11 seconds to play but Jalen Rucker couldn’t connect on a […]
1 day ago
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the World Cup group D ...
Associated Press

Mbappe scores 2, France reaches knockout stage of World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — France advanced, and Kylian Mbappe got them there. The French became the first defending champions to reach the round of 16 at the World Cup since Brazil in 2006, beating Denmark 2-1 Saturday with Mbappe scoring both goals. “Kylian is an extraordinary player. He has the ability to make the difference […]
1 day ago
Spain's Eric Garcia, left, and Hugo Guillamon work out during an official training session at Qatar...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Germany seeks World Cup rebound

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A surprise opening-match loss has Germany headed into its second game seeking an easy victory to avoid a second consecutive early World Cup exit. Too bad the Germans play Spain in what should be anything but a leisurely Sunday stroll. Spain routed Costa Rica 7-0 in its opening match for the […]
1 day ago
Ramírez homers, Clase gets 40th save as Guardians beat KC