CLEVELAND – Josh Naylor turned his bat when the ball shot over the fence and threw his helmet 20 feet into the air as he approached the man.
He then nodded to Cleveland director Terry Francona.
Naylor hit a two-run homer with two outs in the tenth inning, completing a four-run rally that gave the Guardians an exciting 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
Amed Rosario started the comeback with a double of a single against the close Emilio Pagán that marked the automatic runner Richie Palacios, which caused the Twins to enter Jharel Cotton (2-2).
A pass from Ryan Jeffers scored to Steven Kwan, and Cotton pulled off José Ramírez and had two hits on Naylor before he threw his first home run from the end of the game towards the left porch.
“I just tried to hit a home run, to be honest,” Naylor said, smiling. “I was trying to finish the game. I didn’t want to play a single one. I wanted to finish it. I just wanted to win.”
After rounding out the bases, Naylor gave an excited nod to Francona, 63, who was wearing a batting helmet. Earlier this season, a fired Naylor threw his cap in the dugout after a great homer against the White Sox.
“I have to go freeze my neck,” Francona joked. “I think Josh likes to be in those situations, and that was pretty special there.”
Minnesota took a 6-3 lead in the top of the tenth with a single driven by Carlos Correa and a two-run homer from Max Kepler against Eli Morgan (4-2). He was Kepler’s 14th homer in 45 games in his career at Progressive Field.
The teams split four games in the five-game series, keeping the Twins’ lead over the second-ranked Guardians in the AL Central in two.
“I don’t think you see a much harder game on a team than that,” Minnesota coach Rocco Baldelli said. “We have to find a way to end the matches.”
Alex Kirilloff hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Gio Urshela followed with a solo shot from Guardians starter Cal Quantrill, tying the score at 3 with the Twins ’second consecutive homer of the year.
Naylor propelled Cleveland’s third run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and Rosario had four hits. The Guardians scored twice in the first with a ball driven by Franmil Reyes that included a throwing error by second baseman Luis Arraez.
Kirilloff equaled the best of his season with three hits. Arraez, AL’s batting leader, was 0 out of 5 for the Twins, dropping their average to .337.
Quantrill threw eight innings, the record of his career, allowing three runs in eight hits while striking out three. The right-hander did not issue a ride.
“Josh was heroic this year with homers at the end of the inning,” Quantrill said. “That’s huge. That’s great. I deserve it.”
Twins right-hander Dylan Bundy gave up three runs, two wins, in five innings.
Pagan suffered defeats in the series, retiring just one hitter and allowing five total runs – four wins – in two appearances.
“Pagan is in a routine right now, you can’t deny it,” Baldelli said. “We have to figure out what’s going to follow for him.”
THE BUCK FOR HERE
Byron Buxton’s twins have racked up 52 homers, 95 RBIs and 112 runs in their previous 162 games, a period that began on Sept. 1, 2019. The sprinter, often injured, did not start on Wednesday, but came on as a hitter. novena. “I think I’ve never seen anyone hit that level during that time period, and it still seems like he’s capable of more,” Baldelli said. “Buck is a fantastic player.”
Twins: Strap (leg pain) was not in lineup after playing all 18 innings on the field during Tuesday’s twinbill. Baldelli said the All-Star’s short field was a “little hit,” but he used it off the bench in the tenth. “Carlos wanted both games in the double game, but we had to give him a day off in this series,” Baldelli said.
Guardians: C Austin Hedges (concussion), who is on the seven-day injury list, is working to catch a bullpen. “He had more of Hedgie’s personality than he did for a couple of days, so I think he’s fine,” Francona said. Hedges was hit for a foul on Saturday against the Red Sox.
Twins: RHP Chris Archer (2-3, 3.14 ERA) is looking for his first win of his career over Cleveland in the five-game series final. Archer is 0-7 with a 5.87 ERA in eight games, all as starters, against the Guardians franchise.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (3-4, 3.07 ERA) lost for the first time since May 22 in his last outing, conceding three runs in seven innings against Boston. Bieber leads 2-1 with an effectiveness of 2.52 in his last six outings.
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Naylor’s 2-run HR in the tenth of the Guardians’ 7-6 victory over the Twins
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