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Rays beat Indians in wild-card game, move on to face Red Sox in ALDS

Delmon Young of the Tampa Bay Rays runs

Delmon Young of the Tampa Bay Rays runs around second base after he hit a solo home run in the third inning against Danny Salazar of the Cleveland Indians during the American League Wild Card game at Progressive Field. (Oct. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

CLEVELAND - The Tampa Bay Rays are not going home yet.

The Rays, who have been on the road since Sept. 24, will continue their journey Friday at Fenway Park after beating the Indians in the AL wild-card game, 4-0, before a sellout crowd of 43,579 at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay will face the Red Sox in the best-of-five Division Series. The Rays won nine of their final 11 regular-season games, including the wild-card play-in game at Texas.

"All in enemy territory," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm so proud of the guys. We're playing here in Cleveland. Packed. The guys love it."

Alex Cobb threw 62/3 shutout innings to spoil the first playoff game for the Indians since 2007. Cleveland, which won its final 10 regular-season games to earn a playoff berth, had nine hits, but went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Former Yankee Nick Swisher continued his October futility by going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and leaving five men on.

The Rays' road run began with a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium that eliminated the Yankees from playoff contention. They lost two at Toronto before a victory on Sunday sent the Rays to Texas, where they ousted the Rangers, 5-2.

"This team," Cobb said, "nobody wants to go home."

Cobb, who missed two months this season after being hit in the head with a line drive, allowed eight hits and walked one, striking out five.

"It's been a blur. I don't know if that's because of the concussion," Cobb joked. "It's been a whirlwind, that's for sure."

Indians manager Terry Francona started rookie Danny Salazar, who had 10 major-league games of experience. Salazar's early heat matched the passion of the home fans.

Salazar struck out Wil Myers on a 98-mile per hour fastball for the second out of the game. He ended the first inning by firing a 100-mph pitch past James Loney.

When Salazar's heater went down a tick, though, the Rays were ready. Delmon Young smashed the first pitch of the third inning -- a 95-mph fastball -- well over the leftfield wall to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.

In the next inning, Desmond Jennings pulled a 97-mph pitch inside the third-base line for a two-out, two-run double to make it 3-0.

Salazar lasted four-plus innings. The Indians, meanwhile, could not ride the wave of home-team emotion.

In the fourth, with the bases loaded, Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play.

In the fifth, with runners on first and third, Michael Bourn struck out, Swisher grounded to first and Jason Kipnis bounced one back to Cobb.

Finally in the seventh, the Indians had runners on first and second with one out when Bourn flied out. Maddon brought on Joel Peralta, who struck out Swisher on three pitches. Swisher's lifetime postseason numbers: 26-for-158 (.165).

The game was the beginning of a rare 48-hour stretch in the sports spotlight for Cleveland. As the Indians played, the city was beginning to fill with brown-and orange-clad Browns fans for Thursday night's NFL showcase with the Buffalo Bills.

"I wish we could have given them a better game," Francona said. "The support was fantastic. It was pretty amazing to see how it can be."


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