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Late rally sparks Guardians’ 8-4 win over A’s

Was the offense responding to the energy from Tito’s ejection or the mere existence of Oscar Gonzalez? Maybe both?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Guardians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This young Guardians team has a fire lit under them. The dips will come again, but tonight’s 8-4 win over the A’s was one of those “just enjoy the ride” games.

Heck, tonight was almost one of the low points with Konnor Pilkington struggling out of the gate and the Guardians losing to one of the worst teams in baseball for the better part of seven innings.

But then the eighth inning came and the runs came flooding in. Heading into the frame, they were tied, 4-4, and the first five batters reached base, capped off by Richie Palacios hitting a pinch-hit double that made the final tally 8-4.

Palacios’ hit came on a changeup well outside of the zone that he flipped into left field. Just a beautiful piece of clutch hitting from the rookie.

Perhaps the spark that prompted the comeback was Terry Francona standing up for Andres Gimenez in the sixth inning when he should have been awarded third base after essentially being tackled by the defender. Already heated from last night’s rain delay debacle and other weird calls in this game, he came out hot and was ejected after a brief interaction.

If you don’t trust that kind of thing helping a team, maybe it was Oscar Gonzalez pumping out four hits and an RBI. One of those hits, a double in the second, was hit at 110.5 miles per hour — the hardest-hit ball of the game by any Guardian. The second hardest-hit ball? Gonzalez’s fourth-inning single was blistered at 106.5.

The third hardest-hit ball, you ask?! Well, that was an Owen Miller lineout, ignore that.

Much like riding the highs of the Guardians as a team, just take a minute and enjoy what Oscar Gonzalez has done in a couple weeks of MLB action. He has at least one hit in all but one of his 13 games thus far, and most of those have been multi-hit efforts. The two things he hasn’t done that he usually did in the minors were strike out and hit home runs. Good luck guessing what he’ll actually be producing like in a month or more, but right now — like the rest of the Guardians — he’s fun as hell.

Gonzalez has been seeing more sliders, as you might expect from a big free-swinger, but it doesn’t seem to affect him much yet. He even took a one placed perfectly on the edge of the zone for one of his four hits. But the fact remains that a book is being built on him and — so far — he’s adjusting back against it.

With the win, the Guardians have a winning record for the first time in a month. They’ve also firmly placed themselves both in the AL Central race (3.5 games back of the Twins) and Wild Card race (1.0 games back of the Red Sox) with all the time in the world to continue building wins.