When I played, a coach of mine used to always say, “Million dollar play, but a one-cent throw.” He wanted to emphasize that you can do the most dazzling thing in the world to stop a hard-hit ball and you will still need to make the throw to first in order to record an out.
Andrés Giménez made such a play in the bottom of the seventh inning today. With a twitch, he snared a ball off the bat of Trea Turner. He threw to first with a hitch. The ball sailed beyond Owen Miller and Eddy Alvarez scored from third.
Morgan stayed on the mound — he had replaced Shane Bieber after Alvarez singled but before the throwing mishap — and shut the door on the inning with two strikeouts. That remains key here. An error hurts, but an error and another mistake often cost the game.
That is what one expects from a young team but the Guardians responded like veterans. A pinch-hitter stepped up and drove in the game-tying run in the next inning. Both players involved — Richie Palacios and Steven Kwan — are rookies.
The run came home with the impact of a late equalizing goal in a Premier League match. Dodger Stadium, which awoke from a Sunday catnap just moments earlier, quieted back down.
It meant the 6.1 innings of three-run baseball by Bieber were not wasted, nor was Oscar Gonzalez’s first career home run. Such things endure defeat but taste sweet only after victory.
Cleveland took the lead on a Giménez RBI single (redemption!) and extended it when Ernie Clement drove in the fifth run with a sacrifice fly.
Emmanuel Clase took control of the mound from Eli Morgan and retired the side in order. Delightful.
Cleveland leaves the series having taken two of three from the NL West-leading Dodgers. They trail the Minnesota Twins by one game at “press time”.
- Owen Miller dropped a pop-up in today’s game. It didn’t lead to a run. He has played first base to at least a draw, I think, but his bat doesn’t leave much margin for errors at a premium bat position.
- Oscar Gonzalez walked three times this season before hitting a home run today. That just doesn’t seem possible. But, yes, he is now on the Career Home Runs Hit leaderboard.
- The Dodgers challenged whether or not Josh Naylor tagged up correctly, which feels like someone criticizing a perfectly fine parking job.
- What did José Ramírez do today? Nothing. He took another day off to heal his thumb. It’s pretty great when you can win a close game against the Dodgers without your best player, ain’t it?
Eli Morgan and Emmanuel Clase are one of the best closing trios in baseball and there are only two of them.
Cleveland gets Monday night off before traveling to Minnesota. The division lead is on the line.