Guardians hit walk-off homer for second consecutive game vs. Twins, as Cleveland takes five-game series
The Cleveland Guardians notched a come-from-behind win over the Minnesota for the third consecutive day on Thursday, winning a 5-3 contest (box score) that capped the five-game series. It should be noted that the Twins won the other two games in the series, including the second half of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Thursday’s game saw the Twins take a 3-1 lead in the third inning, a margin that would remain in place until the bottom of the eighth inning. Reliever Tyler Thornburg started his appearance with an out before losing the plot. He plunked the next batter, then issued walks to consecutive hitters to load the bases. An infield single and throwing error plated a pair of runs, evening the score at 3-3.
Thornburg did escape the eighth without suffering more damage, but his day wasn’t done. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli trotted Thornburg back out there for the ninth, and that eventually proved to be a mistake.
Thornburg walked the leadoff hitter before notching back-to-back outs. He even reached an 0-2 count on Andrés Giménez, but it was all for naught. Giménez extended his at-bat to a 3-2 count before launching a game-winning two-run home run:
In the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday, the Twins led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Emilio Pagan experienced a bout of wildness, however, as he walked the first two hitters he faced and uncorked a wild pitch that placed them both in scoring position. Amed Rosario would plate both with a single, giving the Guardians what proved to be an insurmountable 3-2 lead.
On Wednesday, the Twins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force extra innings, and they later established a three-run lead of their own in the top of the 10th. Pagan again proved unable to nail down the victory, as he was removed in favor of Jharel Cotton with one out in the inning, one run already across the plate, and runners on both second and third. Cotton would fare no better. The Guardians would score another run on a passed ball before Josh Naylor launched a game-winning two-run shot.
The Twins will now return home for a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles with just a one-game lead over the Guardians. The Guardians, meanwhile, will host the New York Yankees for three games.
The Twins — or, at least their bullpen — can rest easy knowing that they will not see the Guardians again until September. By that point, Minnesota will have likely introduced some new faces to their bullpen to avoid a repeat of this week.