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Holding on in wild-card chase, Giants host Guardians

Sep 11, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Cleveland Guardians catcher Bo Naylor (23) tags out San Francisco Giants outfielder Austin Slater (13) on a force play at home plate during the seventh inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Former teammates Ramon Laureano and Sean Manaea are expected to go head-to-head for the first time in their careers when the Cleveland Guardians and host San Francisco Giants continue their three-game interleague series Tuesday night.

In a battle of two teams that have done well in extra-inning games this season, the Giants overcame a 10th-inning deficit to pull out a 5-4 win in the series opener on Monday.

By virtue of running their extra-innings record to 10-3, the Giants (74-70) moved within 1 1/2 games of the third wild-card playoff spot in the National League.

The Guardians (68-77) fell to 11-8 in extra-inning affairs.

Laureano has not played since jamming his left hand into the outfield fence during the Guardians’ game against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. The right-handed hitter figures, however, to get a crack at the left-handed Manaea in the type of matchup that has produced his best results this season.

Laureano has hit .279 against left-handers this year, as opposed to .191 against righties.

Manaea (5-5, 5.00 ERA), who was Laureano’s teammate from 2018-21 across the bay with the Oakland Athletics, is scheduled to make his first start since May 10. He has made 25 consecutive relief appearances since then, going 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA.

His most recent outing was last Wednesday on the road against the Chicago Cubs, allowing two runs in three innings of relief.

The 31-year-old has gone 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in five career starts against the Guardians, who the Giants are playing in the only scheduled series between the teams this season.

Blake Sabol was one of the home team’s heroes Monday after a game-tying single in the 10th and subsequent steal that set up LaMonte Wade Jr.’s walk-off hit.

“We were talking among ourselves (after sweeping Colorado over the weekend): Play every game like it’s the biggest game of the year,” Sabol said. “It’s great that the wins are piling up; now we’re looking forward to (Tuesday).”

Manaea and Laureano won’t be the only players experiencing something new Tuesday, as projected Guardians starter Cal Quantrill (2-6, 5.70), a former Stanford star just down the road, will be pitching in San Francisco as a major-leaguer for the first time. He’s gone 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.

The 28-year-old has pitched brilliantly after a nearly two-month absence due to sore right shoulder. He limited the Tampa Bay Rays and Angels to a total of two runs and five hits over 12 innings after making his return on Sept. 1.

“Mentally, it’s been tough,” Quantrill said of having made just 15 starts this season. “I take a lot of pride in taking care of myself, and this year has been hard for me. Hopefully, that was the last of it. I feel pretty good.”

–Field Level Media