Guardians go into a virtual tie for first place with a 6-5 win over Twins in 11 innings

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Guardians go into a virtual tie for first place with a 6-5 win over Twins in 11 innings

MINNEAPOLIS – Striving for first place is never easy.

That’s what the Guardians found out Tuesday at Target Field. They burned their way through to a 3-0 lead and a 5-5 tie before finally going 6-5 through 11 innings against the Twins. The win put them in a virtual tie for first place on the AL Central with the Twins.

In fact, they have a 0.556 to 0.551 percentage point lead over Minnesota. But the G’s have played six fewer games than the Twins because of postponements. It is the first time since April 23 that they are in first place.

The guards came into play. . .and they still are. They’re 6-1 on this nine-game journey with 17 wins in their last 22 games.

In addition, they left Aaron Civale and Franmil Reyes off the injury list, and Jose Ramirez returned to the lineup after missing two games with an injured right thumb. The results of these moves were good, but not as good as Andres Gimenez’s go-ahead single in the 11th, which scored Oscar Gonzalez, the automatic bishop.

Gimenez came on with a .407 (22:54) with runners in goal position and a .317 (20:63) starting in the sixth inning.

Emmanuel Clase eliminated the Twins in the 11th for his 16th save in 19 chances. Clase got a scare last time Jose Miranda made a long flight to the track in left field which Steven Kwan caught. He saved five of the G’s six wins on this trip.

“I thought Kwan would think of us,” said manager Terry Francona. “I thought it was a home game. I thought it was gone.”

Cleveland had runners in the corners and one in the 10th, but Oscar Gonzalez landed in a 6-4-3 doubles after a nine-pitch duel with the hard-throwing Jhoan Duran. At the bottom of 10th place, Trevor Stephan (3-2) successively beat the middle of the twin order – Carlos Correa, Max Kepler and Gary Sanchez – after leading Byron Buxton to put the runners up in first and second place.

“We see some of these guys growing up right in front of us,” Francona said. “We have guys who don’t serve in the fifth inning. They play in some pretty important innings. It’s fun to watch.”

In terms of the G’s newcomers’ contributions, Civale threw five good innings and left with a 3-2 lead. Reyes hit a crucial homer in game eight and Ramirez doubled and scored.

The Guards are 3-0 in extra innings on this trip, beating Colorado, the Dodgers and the Twins. They are 6-2 in extras for the season. The twins are 1-3.

“I think Emmanuel Clase is a big reason,” said left Sam Hentges, who scored twice in a goalless ninth place. “As soon as we got that run in the 11th inning, I turned to Eli (Morgan) and said, ‘This is the ballgame.'”

The Guardians were 3-2 up when Luis Arraez hit a Morgan three-run homer in the seventh to give the Twins a 5-3 lead. Enyel De Los Santos, who replaced Civale, finished the team in sixth place. He opened the seventh with a strikeout, but when he went pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach, Morgan came into play.

Morgan, one of baseball’s hottest hands, allowed No. 9 batsman Ryan Jeffers a double that chased Larnach into third place. Arraez gave the Twins their only lead of the night when he hit a 75-mile change over the wall on the right.

However, the Guardians have proven dangerous during this hot streak in the late innings. Josh Naylor picked eighth with one. Reyes came on the plate with two outs after hitting in his first three at-bats after his rehab stint with Class AAA Columbus. He worked the count to full before sending Emilio Pagan’s next throw over the midfield wall on a line to tie the game at 5-5.

It was his fourth homer of the season and his first since May 7.

“Franmil had a big hit tonight and it was really nice,” Francona said. “It was a difficult situation because Eli was so good. Suddenly we’re down, but fighting back like this, especially on the street, is good.

“There was a lot of good stuff. I thought they were two good teams playing really good baseball.

The Guardians, who came into play, had scored three runs from Twins right-hander Joe Ryan in three starts covering 18 innings dating back to last year. That’s how many runs they had in the first three innings on Tuesday.

Gonzalez doubled up on Kwan with two outs for a 1-0 lead in the first home game. Kwan, hitting leadoff for the sixth time this season, opened the game with a single, his first of four. Amed Rosario also prevailed to place the runners in first and second place.

Ryan retired Ramirez due to an infield fly rule that came up in short right field. Naylor grounded Rosario to second base while Kwan went to third. Gonzalez followed with a double to the right center gap for his ninth RBI since his promotion on May 26.

Naylor made it 3-0 with a two-run homer in Ryan’s third. He hit a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall for his eighth homer.

Civale, who was in the lead, looked strong in five innings in his first start since May 20. He had five strikeouts in the first three innings.

He struggled in the fourth when Alex Kiriloff doubled two runs with two outs to cut the lead to 3-2. Kepler reached with a one-out single and Sanchez walked out. Civale beat Urshela but couldn’t get past Kiriloff.

Civale escaped the fourth and pitched a scoreless fifth, pulling back Buxton and Correa to end the fifth with Arraez at second base, setting the tie run. Civale allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and a walk.

“It was hard to be away,” said Civale, “but this team is rolling right now. I’m just happy to be a part of it. It’s great to be back in the clubhouse.”

Next: RHP Triston McKenzie (4-5, 2.96) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.09) Wednesday at 19:40 Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM, WMMS and the Guardians Radio Network will broadcast the game.

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