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Indians Vs. Rays Recap: Cleveland Holds On To Take Opener, 3-2

The Tampa Bay Rays could not come through against the Indians' bullpen on Monday night, losing the series opener 3-2 at Tropicana Field. The Indians jumped on starter Alex Cobb early on to put three on the board, and those early rallies would be enough against the Rays' lineup. It appeared Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a homer, but replay review clearly showed the ball hitting just below the line at the top of the wall in center field. Choo would come around to score, however, on a passed ball later in the top of the first.

The early run of extra base hits against Cobb would continue in the top of the third. Johnny Damon led off the inning with a double and was promptly brought home on another Choo double to make it 2-0. Two batters later, Jason Kipnis would knock in what wound up as the winning run with a double to deep center that scored Choo for the second time.

The Rays would end the Zach McAllister shutout one inning later, as Jeff Keppinger put the ball in play in the infield to score B.J. Upton. McAllister would bear down against the Rays and not allow another run. Esmil Rogers was the first reliever out of the pen for Cleveland and it didn't take long for Tampa to strike. Desmond Jennings led off the seventh with a shot to left that cut the lead to just one run.

But that's all the Rays would manage against the Tribe bullpen, with the dynamic duo of Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez closing it down in the eighth and ninth innings. Pestano got into a jam in the eighth, but with the tying run on third, he threw a back door curveball that came over the outside corner to strike out Brooks Conrad and end the inning.

For more on the Rays, visit DRays Bay. Get the Cleveland perspective at Let's Go Tribe. Stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay throughout the series for news, updates and more. Visit Baseball Nation for trade talk and analysis from around the majors.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.