Amed Rosario came up clutch for Cleveland in the eighth inning, plating the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-run single and giving the Guardians a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish en route to beating the Twins in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning but with Emilio Pagan, their favorite Minnesota reliever, on the mound, the Guardians’ rally got started with back-to-back walks by Myles Straw and Steven Kwan. After a passed ball allowed both runners to advanced, the Twins opted to bring the infield in and allowed Rosario to squeeze an RBI single through the middle of the infield.
Pagan in his last three relief appearances against Cleveland: 2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 ER
Emmanuel Clase pitched a scoreless ninth to close it out.
The Guardians opened up the scoring in the first inning in unusual fashion. With two outs and Amed Rosario on first, Franmil Reyes dropped an RBI double between first base and right field. Right fielder Max Kepler seemed to lose the ball in the sun and watched casually as it dropped between him and first baseman Alex Kirilloff. As the ball hung in the air, Rosario never stopped sprinting around the bases and scored easily to give Cleveland an early 1-0 lead.
But outside of that blunder, the Guardians continued to struggle against Minnesota starting pitcher Devin Smeltzer. In his first two starts against Cleveland this season, Smeltzer allowed one earned run over 11 innings pitched. It was more of the same Tuesday afternoon, as he limited the Guardians to four hits and one run over six innings, recording a season-high nine strikeouts.
With only a single run of support, Cleveland starting pitcher Zach Plesac went six innings for the sixth consecutive start, limiting the Twins to three hits and three walks in a scoreless outing. His full arsenal was on display Tuesday afternoon, using his changeup, four-seam fastball, slider, and curveball in equal measure en route to seven strikeouts. This was Plesac’s first scoreless outing of the season since he pitched 5.2 shutout innings against the Royals on April 9.
While one run of support seemed to be enough for Plesac, it was not enough for Eli Morgan, who has now given up runs in three of his last six appearances. Morgan came on in the seventh inning and gave up a two-out double to Jose Miranda. Gilberto Celestino, who stepped to the plate amid a 1-for-17 slump, tripled to deep left-center to score Miranda and tie the game.
Sam Hentges surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Correa in the eighth inning to give the Twins a 2-1 lead that seemed all but certain to be the final score until the Guardians staged their rally.