MINNEAPOLIS – They are the team that refuses to lose. No matter what the situation, what the deficit is, the Guardians play until they can no longer play.
IG did it again Wednesday night, gathering for four runs in the ninth inning to beat the Twins, 11-10, and extend their lead in AL Central to a full game.
They entered ninth behind, 10-7, after a three-point homer from Gio Urshela in the seventh. They didn’t seem bothered by this fact.
Amed Rosario, who finished with four hits, opened with a single from Twins rescuer Emilio Pagan, who was working on his second inning. Jose Ramirez sent him in third place with a single right and Josh Naylor doubled from the fence in the center to score Rosario and put Ramirez in third. Rookie Oscar Gonzalez hit a single in the middle to equalize the score at 10-10, but the Guardians weren’t finished.
Amed Rosario moved Gonzalez to third place with a sacrificial bunt. Owen Miller gave the green light on a sacrifice flight: his eighth MLB leader of the season.
Emmanuel Clase pitched the ninth for his 17th save on 19 occasions.
“Just like Tuesday night, there were two teams that really wanted to win,” said coach Terry Francona. “They are back, we are back. Luckily when it was over we had one more (in us) because it was a lot of back and forth. “
The Guardians are 7-1 on this nine-game trip to Denver, Los Angeles and now Minneapolis. They are 15-4 in June and have won 17 of the last 21.
They have been touched by the baseball gods on his journey. They have won four games for one run and three for two. Three of the wins came in extra innings and scored in the last serve in six of the seven wins.
Why is this happening?
“We are very resilient,” said Rosario, through interpreter Agustin Rivero. “We never give up and play with that happiness of playing. It is one of the reasons why we have been able to come back late in these matches. “
Happiness is one thing, but the fact that Rosario is hitting .354 (28 out of 79) in June doesn’t hurt either.
Anthony Castro had Urshela, who made his big league debut with the Indians, down in the count, 1-2, in the seventh when the Twins third baseman sent the next pitch over the wall in the center left to turn a 7-7 tie into a three-run advantage. Urshela fell a double short of the cycle going 3 out of 4.
The Twins came in with a 78-50 lead on home runs and it showed. They left the yard four more times with three of the homers that came up against owner Triston McKenzie. But the Guardians’ power play proved to be good.
Austin Hedges started a three-run rally in the fifth with a homer ahead. In the seventh, Rosario and rookie Gonzalez scored a 7-6 lead.
Rosario made a left homer to start the innings on Jharel Cotton. It was his third win of the game and he reduced Minnesota’s lead to 6-5. Gonzalez, with Ramirez second after being hit with a pitch and stealing the second, hit a 3-2 shot from Cotton on the left field seats for the lead. It was Gonzalez’s second big league homer, both away.
Anthony Gose started seventh for Cleveland by retiring Luis Arraez. Castro replaced Carlos Correa and retired on a long drive to the left track. Correa had scored in his first two bars. But Castro accompanied Max Kepler and gave up a single line-drive to Gary Sanchez on the right while Kepler finished third.
Alex Kiriloff, with the defense shifted to the left, spotted through the hole left shortly, to score Kepler with a draw. Urshela untied with her fifth career homer against Cleveland.
Francona used six relievers in Tuesday’s 6-5 win in 11 innings. A short start from McKenzie didn’t help matters Wednesday.
“It was difficult,” Francona said, when asked to get the pen to work on Wednesday. “We really had plans for Anthony (Castro) to make two innings tonight. Last night everyone who started the game got up at least twice and Shaw got up three times.
“I don’t want to hurt people. They would be willing to throw, but you can’t. You hope that the people who understand the game understand it. “
The Twins caught McKenzie for a 5-1 lead in four innings. They leaned heavily on solo home runs, a gremlin that continues to pester McKenzie. Of the 14 homers McKenzie conceded this year, 12 came with empty bases.
“He really didn’t locate his fastball very well,” Francona said. “They had a really good approach. You could tell they were trying to get on top of his fastball because he has life on it. They made him pay for his mistakes. “
Arraez opened the game with a long drive to the left field which Steven Kwan caught on the fence. Correa followed with a drive into the left court seats which Kwan was unable to take to a 1-0 lead.
The Twins scored 2-0 on Ryan Jeffers brace in the second. Urshela and Trevor Lanach chose each other in front of Jeffers to set the table. McKenzie escaped further problems by retiring the next two batters with the runners in second and third place.
Kwan tripled Myles Straw at home to 2-1 in the third. Straw, in a slip of 13 by 101 (.129), caught up with Sonny Gray, a single double-out, Sonny Gray.
McKenzie, however, was unable to keep the ball within the confines of Target Field.
Correa started the third with his second consecutive 3-1 homer. The twins turned to their short game in the fourth. Urshela, after opening the innings with a badly played triple from Straw in the middle, scored on Jeffers’ perfect squeeze bunt that rolled under McKenzie’s glove for 4-1. Jeffers went so far as to score on Nick Gordon’s single and Arraez’s sacrifice fly.
The Guardians responded promptly in the fifth by scoring three goals for a 5-4. Hedges, who came into play by hitting .163, hit a homer ahead to start the rally. Straw and Kwan followed with consecutive singles. When Gordon bypassed Kwan’s single in the middle, Straw went to third and Kwan to second by mistake.
Rosario scored three consecutive singles when he beat Minnesota star Sonny Gray in first place from ground to second to score Straw and send Kwan to third. Lefty Caleb Thielbar raised and retired Ramirez with a pop foul in first place. Thielbar, with Josh Naylor in the pot, was blamed for a balk on a first pickoff attempt when Kwan scored for 5-4.
McKenzie once again failed to keep the ball in the yard.
Kepler started the fifth with a left homer for a 6-4 lead. By the time Sanchez lined up in the center, McKenzie was done for the night. He allowed a season record of six runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. He hit five and ran through one. McKenzie’s ERA vs Twins this year is 7.15am.
Next: RHP Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.41) v LHP Devin Smeltzer (3-1, 3.52) Thursday at 1:10 pm Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM, WMMS and Guardians Radio Network will carry the game.
Guardians merchandise for sale: Here’s where you can order new Cleveland Guardians gear, including t-shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies, and more.
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