Game Recap 6/4/23 | Guardians Win 2-1 at Twins

June 4, 2023

Andy Billman

Observations from the Game

3 things about Guardians’ 2-1 Win over Twins:

1 – Wowing return 

Welcome back, Triston McKenzie! McKenzie was fantastic in his first game back for the Guards, going five scoreless innings while only giving up one hit and striking out 10.  

2 – More 7th-inning magic 

After two easy outs for Twins starter Joe Ryan in the top of the 7th, Ryan walked JRAM and Josh Naylor torched the second pitch off the wall for a double, making it 1-0 Cleveland.  The next batter, Andres Gimenez crushed the Caleb Thielbar pitch, who replaced Ryan, for a triple making it 2-0. 

3 – Bullpen 

Guardians fans got the full experience of the bullpen today.  James Karinchak and Trevor Stephan both had solid appearances, while Enyel De Los Santos gave up a home run and double, and Emmanuel Clase had two on in the ninth inning but was able to get the save while not giving up the lead. 

Game Summary

In his long-awaited season debut, Triston McKenzie pitched five scoreless innings, overcoming his previous injury setback. The Cleveland Guardians secured a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon, splitting the four-game series. McKenzie displayed his prowess by striking out 10 batters and allowing only one baserunner, a two-out single by Michael Taylor in the third inning. The 25-year-old right-hander, who had been sidelined for over two months due to a shoulder muscle strain, threw 79 pitches.

Both McKenzie and Twins starter Joe Ryan exhibited exceptional performances, keeping the game scoreless until the seventh inning. José Ramírez drew a two-out walk, setting the stage for Josh Naylor’s breakthrough RBI double. Naylor’s hit cleared the right-field wall, which is adorned with a limestone facade, giving the Guardians, who have struggled in the home run department, a much-needed lead. Andrés Giménez followed suit with an RBI triple, extending their advantage to two runs.

The Twins attempted a comeback in the eighth inning when Willi Castro led off with a home run against Enyel De Los Santos. Michael Taylor, who had a stellar game with three hits and two stolen bases, hit a two-out double. Royce Lewis, recently back from his second ACL repair, tried to tie the game with a deep grounder to third but was thrown out in a collision with first baseman Gabriel Arias. Although Lewis landed awkwardly on his head, he walked off the field under his own power after receiving medical attention.

Emmanuel Clase closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning, securing his MLB-leading 19th save. Clase has had success against the Twins throughout his career, earning 14 saves against them, his highest tally against any opponent. He did issue a two-out walk to Ryan Jeffers and allowed a single to Kyle Farmer before striking out Castro to seal the victory.

James Karinchak earned the win after a scoreless sixth inning with two strikeouts, while Trevor Stephan, seeking redemption from his previous outing, struck out two batters in a flawless seventh inning.

McKenzie’s return bolstered an already strong Guardians pitching staff, which includes standout Shane Bieber and the recently returned Aaron Civale. The team was confident in their pitching depth, evidenced by their decision to release struggling pitcher Zach Plesac from Triple-A to make room for McKenzie on the 40-man roster.

Despite leading the AL Central, the Twins, who hold the league’s highest strikeout count, struggled offensively and struck out 16 times. Three of their key hitters, Byron Buxton (ribs), Carlos Correa (foot), and Alex Kirilloff (illness), were unavailable and remained on the bench.

In the injury department, Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario sat out due to left knee soreness after being removed from the previous game in the fourth inning.

Up Next

Tuesday 6/6 7:10 PM EST – Game 1 vs Boston Red Sox.

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