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Guardians 2, Twins 1: Two out of Three Ain't Bad

The Twins couldn’t quite slam the door on the Guardians, but came away successfully winning the series.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

There was no offense, and then there was a rain delay, and then there was a little offense, and then no offense again. There wasn’t much that happened in this game, but Cleveland pulled out the win to hang on to a scrap of their playoff hopes.

The Guardians’ other phenomenal rookie starting pitcher was on the mound in this one, and Gavin Williams showed once again he’s going to be a thorn in the Twins’ side for years to come. The Twins did manage to threaten early against Williams in the second inning. With a runner on second and two outs, Ryan Jeffers sent a screaming line drive into the left-center gap, but an excellent running/diving catch by Myles Straw prevented a hit and the run from scoring.

The Twins did finally get to Williams in the 5th, after the rain delay. Willi Castro walked and stole second, setting up an RBI single by Andrew Stevenson. The steal gave Willi his 30th of the season, the first Twins player with a 30-steal season since Ben Revere in 2012.

The vaunted Guardians bullpen took over from there and largely shut down the rest of the game. There was a hit, a walk, and some questionable called strike-threes, but the Twins never really managed to build a threat the rest of the game.

The Twins sent Joe Ryan out to pitch, who was a little more shaky after his last strong outing against Texas. Ryan managed 4 innings, only giving up 2 runs, but between some lengthy at-bats by Cleveland and the rain delay, he was pulled after the 4th with 89 pitches thrown. He struggled to finish off batters, but largely kept things in check. Most importantly for Joe, he didn’t allow a home run, not that the Guardians hit that many of them.

We also got our first taste of Louie Varland out of the bullpen, and he pitched about as well as could be expected. Varland threw 3 perfect, efficient innings, and then allowed the first two baserunners to reach in his 4th inning of work. Kody Funderburk relieved him and was able to strand the runners to end the inning. Varland showed off a good relief repertoire, with his fastball creeping up toward 100 MPH and a good slider.

One other important note from this game: during the final at-bat for the Twins, Roy Smalley said the Cleveland closer was in a “Clasé by himself” and I wish I never heard it.


Bullpen Louie Varland: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K (both baserunners came to start the 8th)

Rocco Baldelli: Started Edouard Julien at first base


Basically the whole offense: 2-28, 5 BB, 11 K


The sweep would have been great, but taking the two games is HUGE for a team that will be looking to work in some rest for veterans like Carlos Correa, Pablo Lopez, and Sonny Gray down the stretch. Their magic number sits at 17 with 23 games to go.