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Guardians face Rays, aim to match best win streak of year

The Cleveland Guardians will look to match their season-best winning streak on Saturday evening when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

The Guardians (65-70) recorded their third straight victory on Friday, rallying for a 3-2 triumph against the Rays (82-53).

Gabriel Arias had an RBI single and scored the go-ahead run on rookie Bo Naylor’s double in the seventh inning for Cleveland. The Guardians will look to equal their best winning streak of the season, initially set when they captured four in a row from March 31-April 3 and matched from June 18-22.

Naylor acknowledged he is feeling right at home at the plate.

“I was ready to hit something hard, and once I got that pitch, I put a swing on it,” said Naylor, who is batting .357 (10-for-28) with three homers, four doubles and six RBIs in his past 10 games. “I felt like I had two pretty good at-bats before that, and I was seeing the ball well. I’m definitely getting more comfortable in there.”

Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe are feeling positive, too.

Arozarena had an RBI double in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to five games and give him at least one hit in 19 of his last 22 contests.

Lowe has reached base safely in 23 of his past 26 games for the Rays, who saw their four-game winning streak end due to Cleveland’s seventh-inning uprising on Friday.

“I think I pitched pretty good, but I fell behind in the seventh and gave up a couple of hits,” Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow said of his start in the series opener.

Also on Friday, the Rays activated Taylor Walls (left oblique strain) off the 10-day injured list. He is expected to be the Rays‘ primary shortstop with Wander Franco residing on administrative leave. Osleivis Basabe is expected to man either second base, shortstop or third base as needed.

Keeping Arozarena and Lowe in check on Saturday will be the responsibility of Cleveland rookie left-hander Logan Allen (6-7, 3.61 ERA). Allen will draw the start against Tampa Bay right-hander Zack Littell (3-4, 4.45).

Allen fell to 2-5 in his past seven starts after allowing five runs on six hits in four innings during an 8-3 setback to the Toronto Blue Jays last Saturday.

“(I) caught a lot more of the plate, caught a lot more of the barrels,” he said. “Have to live on the edge a little better.”

Allen, 24, has yet to face the Rays in his young career.

Littell, 27, overcame three homers and four runs total to work six innings and pick up the win in a 7-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday. He has been taken deep in each of his past four starts.

Littell is 3-0 and has yet to allow an earned run in 11 2/3 innings over eight career relief appearances (no starts) against the Guardians.