CLEVELAND (AP) — An unexpected season loaded with highs, lows and drama ended abruptly. The magic fizzled for the Cleveland Indians only one game into October.
Wasting scoring opportunities against Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb, the Indians disappointed a sellout crowd that did everything it could to carry them Wednesday night with a 4-0 loss to the Rays in the AL wild-card game.
A team that went from 94 losses last season to 92 wins in 2013 under first-year manager Terry Francona couldn't continue an improbable run that got them back to the postseason for the first time since 2007.
"It hurts. We didn't want to go home yet," said Francona, who gathered his team in a room across from Cleveland's clubhouse. "Once we get past that, for however long that takes, I want them to remember how much me and the staff — it was an honor to go through the season with them and how much we care about them.
"That's what I'll remember more than anything."
The Indians had their chances against Cobb, who was on the ropes in the fourth and fifth innings. Asdrubal Cabrera bounced into an inning-ending double play in the fourth, and Cleveland wasted a two-on, none-out threat in the fifth when Cobb struck out Michael Bourn, got Nick Swisher to ground to first and retired Jason Kipnis on a weak comebacker.
Cleveland had one last shot in the seventh, but Rodney struck out Swisher on three pitches.
"(Cobb) kept us off balance in those situations, and that's the name of the game," said Bourn, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "Me and Swish had opportunities to bring runs in, but it didn't happen. We had nine hits — we outhit them, actually — but we couldn't get any with runners on base."