Twins, Indians set for rubber match after splitting DH

MLB

Behind a homer, a double and four RBIs by catcher Ryan Jeffers, the Minnesota Twins rallied from an early three-run deficit to earn a split of their doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

The 6-3 win allowed the Twins to snap a three-game losing streak, but the biggest victory for manager Rocco Baldelli and company may have occurred before Game 2 in the X-ray room.

Promising right-handed starter Joe Ryan, who tossed seven scoreless innings in his second major league start at Cleveland last week and has compiled a glossy 2.12 ERA in three big league starts, sustained only a right wrist contusion after getting hitting hit by a comebacker. The 92.7 mph drive came off the bat of Myles Straw leading off the sixth in Cleveland’s 3-1 victory in the opener.

The Twins will hope to ride the positive vibes regarding Ryan’s status into the rubber game of the three-game series Wednesday night.

Ryan’s injury looked ominous at the time.

The 25-year-old San Francisco native, who became only the ninth pitcher in the modern era (since 1901) to throw at least five innings and allow no more than three hits in each of his first three career appearances, didn’t even wait for trainers to come to the mound after getting struck. Instead, he walked briskly straight into the dugout, where he hurled his glove in frustration.

However, after getting the X-ray results, Ryan took time to chat with the media between games.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I don’t know, I should have handled that a little better. I got hit in the wrist and was definitely a little shocked. I went to go pick (the ball) up with my right hand and it didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted it to, so I was kind of like, ‘All right, probably not going to pitch anymore today, so I should probably go inside.'”

Ryan allowed just a run on three hits, including a long solo homer by Bradley Zimmer, and a walk in five-plus innings. He struck out five.

“Obviously annoying to come out like that,” he said. “Yeah, I’m feeling good. It’s fine. I’m not worried about it. (Head trainer Michael) Salazar got me set in there right away. Scanned it. Checked it out. Things are good. Did a bunch of treatment on it already. Got it all wrapped up in this fancy stuff.”

Baldelli said of his thoughts when the injury occurred, “Those are tough moments. You do hold your breath.”

Cleveland (70-73) got another strong performance from right-hander Triston McKenzie while winning the opener. McKenzie (5-6) allowed one run on three hits over six innings and a walk while striking out seven, including Byron Buxton three times. He has allowed one run or none in each of his past five starts while going at least six innings in each outing.

“Triston, he was outstanding,” interim Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said. “Twenty first-pitch strikes out of 21 batters he faced. … He just continues to pitch the ball well.”

Indians right-hander Cal Quantrill (5-3, 3.04 ERA), who went 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on four hits to pick up the win in his last start on Thursday against Minnesota, will start Wednesday. Overall this season vs. the Twins (64-82), he is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five games, including three starts. In his career against Minnesota, he is 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA in six games (three starts).

Rookie right-hander Griffin Jax (3-3, 6.72 ERA), who got his first major league win against the Indians on June 25 at Target Field, will start for Minnesota. He beat Cleveland by throwing 4 1/3 innings of three-run ball out of the bullpen. Jax started against the Indians on Aug. 16, and yielded four runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings of a no-decision.

–Field Level Media

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