The Cleveland Guardians play to the last out. If any team realizes that, it’s the Minnesota Twins.
The Guardians scored four times in the bottom of the 10th on Wednesday and shocked Minnesota 7-6.
The five-game series, which concludes Thursday, is tied 2-2.
Cleveland stunned the Twins 11-10 on June 22 when it scored four times in the ninth.
“We are resilient,” Guardians reliever Eli Morgan said. “We play for each other and love each other.”
Ace Shane Bieber (3-4, 3.07 ERA) will try to win the series for the Guardians on Thursday. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 career appearances, including 12 starts, against the Twins.
Chris Archer (2-3, 3.14 ERA), drafted by Cleveland in 2006 but traded before he reached the majors, will oppose Bieber. The right-hander is 0-7 with a 5.87 ERA in seven career starts against the Guardians and 0-4 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts in Cleveland.
The Guardians won the Wednesday game with two outs in the 10th when Josh Naylor belted a two-run homer.
“That was pretty special right there,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said earlier in the series his team has a short memory.
“Our guys are good at being forgetful,” Baldelli said. “It’s the nature of our game. No matter what happens in a given game, one of the greatest assets our guys have is they are able to wipe it away pretty easily.”
The Twins have hit 10 homers against the Guardians in the first four games of the series, compared to one by Cleveland. Of course, Naylor’s shot will be the one everyone remembers.
Francona said there’s nothing he can do about the lack of power.
“We have what we have,” he said. “It is nice to hit a home run every once in a while.”
The Guardians don’t have many power hitters, especially with both Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes mired in slumps.
“The Twins have done a real good job on their approach to (Ramirez),” Francona said. “He’ll be OK.”
Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill was cruising along with a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning on Wednesday when the Twins scored three runs in a span of 10 pitches.
Gary Sanchez doubled, and Alex Kirilloff and Gio Urshela followed with back-to-back homers to tie the score.
“Three hitters, then bam, bam, bam, it’s tied,” Francona said.
Francona said the goal is always to win, but the Guardians are also trying to develop several young players. They are the youngest team in the majors.
“It’s something we try to remind ourselves of every day,” he said. “We’re trying to balance it. We’re always trying to win. That’s why we’re here.”
And when they lose?
“It still rips your heart out,” Francona said.
Regular Cleveland catcher Austin Hedges is in concussion protocol and should be activated in a few days. He will soon catch a bullpen session.
“He was feeling guilty (being on the injured list),” Francona said.
The Guardians filled the roster vacancy by acquiring veteran catcher Sandy Leon from the Cincinnati Reds in a cash deal on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media