SP: Sonny Gray 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (97 pitches, 64 strikes (66 strike %))
Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (9), Nick Gordon (3), Carlos Correa (8)
Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Gary Sanchez .199, Sonny Gray .198, Gio Urshela .167
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
The first inning was a quiet affair at the plate for both teams. That changed in the top of the second as Alex Kirilloff and Gio Urshela reached base on a hit-by-pitch and double, respectively. Then Gary Sanchez came to the plate and on a 1-0 count saw a fastball right down the middle of the plate from Triston McKenzie and took it to deep left field for a three-run homer giving the Twins the first lead of the game.
As the Twins moved into the bottom halves of the second and third, Sonny Gray kept the game scoreless allowing only one base runner on a single by Josh Naylor. Come time for the top of the fourth, the Twins were back at it again with the hits.
Kirilloff reached base once again, this time on a single, and Urshela continued to be a doubles machine in his second at-bat getting an RBI double that scored Kirllioff to make it a 4-0 Twins lead. The following at-bat by Gary Sanchez brought another run home with Urshela scoring on an RBI single to make it 5-0 Twins over Cleveland.
In the bottom of the fourth, Gray once again allowed the leadoff man Amed Rosario to reach, making it three of four innings where the leadoff man reached on a single off Gray. Still Gray escaped the hiccup retiring the next three batters and keeping the score at 5-0. Both McKenzie and Gray retired the minimum in the fifth inning keeping the game score at 5-0.
Kirilloff kept up the hitting game again in the top of the sixth with a leadoff single. He wanted to extend that hit into a double but slid in too late and was thrown out by Steven Kwan from left field. Sanchez followed up Kirilloff two at-bats later by being the other Twin to reach base at least three times in the game. The next pitch was the first for Nick Gordon’s third at-bat and Nick Gordon pulled it to right field for a two-run home run to make the Twins lead 7-0.
Gray continued his domination in the bottom of the sixth retiring the minimum for the third time in the game. Even more impressive was Gray’s total pitch count being only at 77 through six in his third start since returning from the IL.
The offense gave Gray even more run support in the top of the seventh inning as Luis Arraez led off, drawing his second walk of the game. Two at-bats later, Carlos Correa delivered more runs on another two-run shot to put the Twins up further 9-0.
Kirilloff got another chance to make up for his running game in his next at-bat in the top of the seventh. This time, Kwan had trouble reading the ball landing in left field from Kirilloff and he reached second safely to give himself a three-hit game and reached base in every plate appearance of the game to that point.
The bottom of the seventh started off with a ten-pitch at-bat by Jose Ramirez against Gray that ended in a walk. The following at-bat made up for the walk as the Twins recorded a 3-5-1 double play against Naylor. Gray retired the final batter of the inning and Spongbob fan Oscar Gonzalez on a live drive to Correa, marking the end of Gray’s stellar start with seven innings of shutout baseball on 97 pitches.
The eighth inning did not have much going for either team and as the game entered the top of the ninth inning, the Guardians forfeited their designated hitter by putting in Ernie Clement in the game for Jose Ramirez. Clement was on the mound in the ninth and the Guardians starting designated hitter, Owen Miller, was moved over to third.
The top of the ninth did bring another first of the season as Mark Contreras came off the bench in place of Correa, hit against the shift and earned his first major league hit.
Kirilloff was retired in the top of the ninth but got a sacrifice that scored Gilberto Celestino changing the score to 10-0. The next at-bat saw Urshela get his third hit and third RBI of the game scoring Contreras for his first big league run scored and making it an 11-0. Sanchez ended the inning on a double play, but the Twins walked away happy with a couple more insurance runs.
Jharel Cotton, who had already pitched in the eighth, continued for the Twins in the ninth to close out the game. Cotton struggled with the first two batters giving up a single and a walk. He retired the next two batters but a wild pitch to Naylor allowed Myles Straw to score, but Cotton fixed that error by retiring Naylor on the very next pitch.
The Twins have their second double header of the season on Tuesday with the first game against the Guardians starting at 12:10 p.m. CT and the second 6:10 p.m. CT. Game one will be started by Devin Smeltzer against Zach Plesac and game two Josh Winder will face off against Konnor Pilkington for the Guardians.