Target Field Minneapolis

Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins Pick & Prediction JUN 23TH 2022

TV: Bally Sports Network
Logo Cleveland Indians
Logo Minnesota Twins

9.5o -110
-1.5 +140



An angry group of Minnesota Twins will try to avoid getting swept in their American League Central showdown with the red-hot Cleveland Guardians in the series finale on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis.

The Twins, who entered the series in first place, blew a two-run lead in the eighth inning of a 6-5, 11-inning loss in the series opener on Tuesday. Minnesota then squandered a three-run lead in the ninth en route to a wild 11-10 loss on Wednesday.

"There's no one in our clubhouse who's not (ticked) off right now," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "So that's fine. We should be a little (ticked) off based on the way we played the last couple of days and just the inability to get the job done."

Cleveland's Franmil Reyes clubbed a game-tying, two-run with two outs in the eighth on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Oscar Gonzalez, who hit a two-run homer during a three-run seventh, added a two-run bloop single to highlight a four-run ninth that saw Cleveland overcome a 10-7 deficit.

"Like (Tuesday) night, it was two clubs that really wanted to win," Guardians manager Terry Francona said. "They came back, we came back. Fortunately when it was over, we had one more (run) because that was a lot of back and forth."

Minnesota looked in prime position to even the series thanks to Gio Urshela's three-run homer in the seventh that broke a 7-7 tie. However, for the second straight game, the Minnesota bullpen couldn't close it down.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a very difficult ballgame to get over," Baldelli said postgame. "We have to get over with it. We have a game tomorrow morning basically to get ready for."

If the Twins can bounce to back to win the series finale, they would be just percentage points behind the first-place Guardians, whom they will play again five times next week in Cleveland.

"For a few minutes now it's not a fun one, it's not an easy one to get over," Baldelli said. "The ups and downs over a course of a game like that, they do take a little something out of you. There's no way around that.

"We've played two games in a row like this that feel very unsatisfying and we're kind of (ticked) off. But you can't focus on that too long because we have another game to get ready for."

Left-hander Devin Smeltzer (3-1, 3.52 ERA) will get the Thursday start for Minnesota, facing off with Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.41).

Smeltzer is coming off his worst start of the season, when he allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 7-2 loss at Arizona on Friday night. He is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in six career appearances (four starts) against Cleveland.

Plesac didn't get the win but was impressive in his latest start, a 2-1, 10-inning road victory for the Guardians over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He allowed just one run -- a solo homer by Cody Bellinger -- on five hits over six innings.

Plesac has struggled against the Twins in his career, compiling an 0-1 record and a 6.26 ERA in four career starts, including an 0-1 mark and a 7.71 ERA in two career starts in Minneapolis.

No matter what happens Thursday, the Guardians will leave Minneapolis having won their seventh series in a row. Cleveland is 17-4 over its past 21 games.

The Twins have lost three games in a row and four of five.

--Field Level Media

Cleveland Indians
Minnesota Twins

Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins Recap JUN 23TH 2022

Nick Gordon hit a solo home run and four pitchers combined for a shutout as the Minnesota Twins recorded a 1-0 win over the visiting Cleveland Guardians on Thursday afternoon.

Twins starter Devin Smeltzer (4-1) and relievers Joe Smith, Jhoan Duran and Caleb Thielbar teamed up to limit the Guardians to five hits. Minnesota avoided a three-game sweep in the series finale.

Guardians starter Zach Plesac (2-5) took the hard-luck loss despite allowing only one run on three hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Smeltzer set the tone early as the Twins snapped a three-game losing streak. He scattered three hits, walked none and struck out three over six innings.

Smith escaped a turbulent seventh inning before Duran worth the eighth and got the first out of the ninth. Thielbar entered the game and allowed a one-out double to Andres Gimenez, but he notched the next two outs for his first career save in 214 appearances.

Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead on Gordon's solo homer in the bottom of the third inning. The 26-year-old belted an 80 mph curveball an estimated 422 feet over the wall in center field.

It was the second homer of the season and sixth of his career for Gordon, whom the Twins selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Cleveland squandered a scoring opportunity in the seventh inning after it loaded the bases with no outs against Smith. Ernie Clement and Luke Maile hit back-to-back fielder's choice ground balls, and Myles Straw lined out to right field to end the inning.

In the eighth, Amed Rosario was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Duran with one out. He did not make it any further as Jose Ramirez struck out swinging and Oscar Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop to end the frame.

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton did not play because of a sore right knee.

The Guardians completed a nine-game road trip with a 7-2 record. They will return to Cleveland for an 11-game homestand beginning Friday with a series opener against the Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota will remain home for a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies starting Friday.

--Field Level Media

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