Twins edge Cleveland on Garver home run

Lead in AL Central back to 6 1/2 games

WCCO Radio Newsroom
September 08, 2019 - 6:11 am
Twins catcher Mitch Garver hits a 3-run homer

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MINNEAPOLIS - Mitch Garver has hit more home runs in a season by a Twins catcher.

None was more important than the one he hit late Saturday night.

After homering in the first inning, Garver sliced a three-run shot into the overhang in right field in the seventh, proving the difference in the Twins' 5-3 win over Cleveland.

After dropping the opener of the key three-game series with the Indians on Friday, then finding out that pitcher Michael Pineda is out for the year because of a drug-related suspension, the Twins were looking for some kind of boost in their September push for the playoffs.

“Given the situation -- playoff push, September baseball, tight ballgame -- I mean, that’s got to be one of the biggest,” Garver said about his 28th homer of the season.

The win boosted the Twins' lead in the AL Central over second-place Cleveland to 6 1/2 games.

The rivals wrap up their series at Target Field on Sunday, with the teams squaring off three more times in Cleveland starting on Friday.

“It was a challenging day,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There’s been a lot going day. It has been emotional, as well. We came, were focused and ready to play despite everything going on around us.”

Garver's pivotal home run came off Indians reliever Nick Goody, part of a bullpen with the majors' best ERA.

“These guys have picked me up plenty of times and I had the opportunity to do the same for them and I didn’t come through,” Goody said.

Cleveland had won five of the previous six games against Minnesota, and earlier came from and 11 1/2-game deficit in the AL Central to take a half-game lead in the division on Aug. 12.

Going into Sunday, the Indiand find themselves 1 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot in the American League.

Zack Littell (4-0) allowed no runs in one inning of relief to pick up the win with Taylor Rogers pitching a scoreless ninth inning for his 25th save.

Twins starter Jake Odorizzi had another strong outing, striking out 10 in 5 1/3 inings while allowing two runs on four hits.

Adam Cimber (5-3) was tagged with the loss.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: DH Nelson Cruz said he had no pain in his left wrist after leaving Friday’s game early. It’s the same wrist that has a ruptured tendon he is playing with. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Cruz was an option to play Saturday, but held him out of the starting lineup as a “coach’s decision.” Cruz was later ejected after yelling at home plate umpire Laz Diaz from the dugout following a called third strike on C.J. Cron. … An MRI showed OF Jake Cave has a mild groin strain and wasn’t available Saturday. … Baldelli said RHP Kyle Gibson (10-day injured list) is doing well as he deals with ulcerative colitis and Gibson is expected to return to the rotation during the upcoming home series against Washington.

UP NEXT

Indians: Mike Clevinger (10-2, 2.71 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Clevinger is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against Minnesota this season.

Twins: Minnesota hasn’t declared a starter for Sunday in the spot open because of Gibson’s injury. The Twins could make it an extended bullpen game or possibly use Devin Smeltzer, who is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA over seven games this season while making four starts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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