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José Ramírez's homer in 8th inning leads Guardians to 3-2 win and sends Twins to 4th straight loss

Morning headlines from May 17, 2024
Morning headlines from May 17, 2024 03:01

José Ramírez homered with two outs in the eighth inning, sending the Cleveland Guardians to a 3-2 win on Friday night over the Minnesota Twins in a game featuring the first infield shift violation this season.

Ramírez connected for his 10th homer on a 2-1 pitch from Jhoan Duran (0-1), driving it into the seats in right field to delight a Progressive Field crowd that came out to see Cleveland's new uniforms and fireworks.

It was the 226th career homer for Ramírez, moving him into a tie for fourth in club history with Hall of Famer Earl Averill. Only Jim Thome (337), Albert Belle (242) and Manny Ramirez (236) have more.

"I am running out of adjectives to describe him," Guardians first-year manager Stephen Vogt said of his All-Star third baseman. "You have to just kind of smile and laugh sometimes. Like, are you kidding me?

"I keep saying I can't be shocked at this point, but it's still just so fun to watch."

The Twins lost their fourth straight and had several calls go against them, including Duran's first two pitches to Ramírez.

"It's frustrating for our players when late in the game every meaningful call did go against us," said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "The guy who hit the home run (Ramírez), he's hit a lot of big home runs, he's a great player. But when the first two pitches in the at-bat are strikes and they both get called balls, that's hard to swallow."

Tim Herrin (2-0), who allowed the Twins to tie it in the eighth, got the win. Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 13th save.

Guardians starter Triston McKenzie allowed just two hits — one a homer to Alex Kiriloff — in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander also got three double plays and a nice diving catch by center fielder Tyler Freeman to start the game.

David Fry belted a two-run homer for the Guardians in the sixth shortly after Twins shortstop Carlos Correa was ruled to be illegally out of position while fielding a grounder.

The Twins stumbled into Cleveland. They were swept at home in a three-game series earlier this week by the New York Yankees, who shut out them out in the final two games and outscored Minnesota 14-1.

Twins rookie Simeon Woods Richardson was pulled in the sixth following an unusual matchup against Ramírez, who appeared to ground out to Correa for the first out.

However, the Guardians felt Correa was to the left side of second base when the pitch was released. They challenged and the play was overturned by replay — after a long delay — with Ramírez returning to the batter's box before hitting a foul pop the Twins let drop.

Ramírez then pulled a pitch down the right-field line that just missed being a two-run homer by a few feet. He eventually struck out, but Andrés Giménez, who opened the inning with a single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error.

Okert came on and the Twins cut down Giménez at the plate on a fielder's choice before the versatile Fry, who has played first, outfield, catcher and DH, connected on an 0-2 pitch for his fourth homer.

Baldelli felt the replay was inconclusive.

"Frustrating game," he said. "You can lose close games, but to have that many things go against you, especially late in the game and losing by a run, that's rough and the guys in there are pretty pissed off."

Kiriloff's homer leading off the third ended Minnesota's scoreless streak at 28 consecutive innings, the fourth longest streak in club history (since 1961).

NEW JERSEYS

The Guardians debuted their new City Connect Series uniforms.

The blue tops are emblazoned with "CLE" across the front in art-deco style letters and numbers inspired by the nearby Guardians of Traffic pillars on the Hope Memorial Bridge outside Progressive Field.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: CF Byron Buxton is expected to be activated from the injury list for Saturday's game after being sidelined since May 3 with right knee inflammation. Buxton played back-to-back games this week at Triple-A St. Paul without any issues, clearing his return.

Guardians: RHP Gavin Williams (elbow) threw another bullpen session as he continues to build up arm strength after being hurt in training camp. He threw 50 pitches Wednesday in his first session since receiving an anti-inflammatory injection.

UP NEXT

Twins RHP Bailey Ober (4-1, 3.77 ERA) goes for his fifth win in six starts, matching up against Guardians LHP Logan Allen (4-2, 5.56).

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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