6:26 AM UTC
CLEVELAND — The Guards knew they needed to find a way to win Saturday night.
In Saturday’s doubles match against the Twins, the team is in the first game There were nine innings before the game, which turned into a nearly five-and-a-half-hour, 15-inning marathon. Cleveland led by five before entering the eighth before Minnesota tied the game and forced overtime. But thanks to the combined efforts of Kirk McCarty and Amed Rosario, he kept the Guardians alive in the final three innings, with Cleveland leading 7-6.
With a double sweep, the Guards extend their lead at AL Central to 4 1/2 fields. The White Sox and Minnesota lead by seven, with 17 to play for Cleveland.
Every game matters when the calendar hits mid-September. But it seemed more crucial to the Guardians’ victory. The goal for the day was to use the pitching staff as efficiently as possible to keep the bullpen fresh for a tough time, until September 26, when teams can finally enjoy a day off.
All the dominoes are neatly arranged. Shane Bieber ate eight innings in the matinee while Emmanuel Clase handled the ninth (making him out of bedcap). Konnor Pilkington kept the Twins a scoreless frame 5 2/3 at bedtime, but with the bullpen uncharacteristically shaken after Pilkington left, the Guardians suddenly found themselves in a bind.
Sam Hentges, Trevor Stephan and James Karinchak were all called up in the eighth inning , and combined to get five runs to tie the knot and eventually force an extra. “He saved our bacon,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said of McCarty. “I mean, he pitched, played. It turned a potentially very frustrating ending into a great night.”
While McCarty has kept the guards on the line for as long as necessary, Rosario has gone to great lengths to give the offense a much-needed spark. After his four-hitter performance earlier in the afternoon, Rosario organized another four-hitter in the evening with Earl Averill (1933) and Knapp Rajoy (1910) Together they became the third Cleveland player to hit two four-hitters on the field. the same day.
“Thank goodness,” Francona said with a smile. “We might still be playing [if Rosario hadn’t done that].”
On the plate at the bottom of the 15th hole, it doesn’t get any better, with two outs and runners on the corner. Rosario didn’t get his fifth at-bat of the night in his final at-bat, but he hit a hardball to shortstop Jermaine Palacios, who blocked the game, allowing Austin Hedges easily scored from third and ended the team’s longest game (by innings) since the April 18, 2018, 16-inning incident in Minnesota.
When the guards realize they need to clear the lineup card of the available players A win becomes even more crucial when it comes to finishing Saturday night, as the bullpen could be in rough shape until Sunday. The team didn’t use Carlos Vargas (he hasn’t made his major league debut yet), but the rest of the team recorded at least one on Saturday. Starting Sunday, without Cody Morris in full stretch, the Guardians will need to find a way to finish all nine innings. But if everyone isn’t the freshest after Saturday night’s marathon, this win makes it easier to digest.
Now, teams must decide how to keep their pitchers in top form. Can some rescuers bounce back in Game 4 of this five-game series? Need to take steps to include resting arms as an additional option? Who will need to be selected or assigned to clear space on the active roster?
“We are desperately not [taking action],” Francona said . “Just because of the way the players play and the team spirit. But we have to make sure we get the game done.”
If the Guardian deems action necessary to get through Sunday’s game, McCarty will be one of the assigned options given the needs of the team. But Cleveland has yet to make that decision. Now, McCarty is focusing on his performance in doubles and making himself realize how much fun it is to be a part of.
“Those are your dream moments,” McCarty said. “That’s so special.”