Polanco, Twins win 6-0, split doubleheader with Guardians

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND — Jorge Polanco drove in three runs in his first game back from the injured list and rookie Josh Winder pitched six stellar innings as the Minnesota Twins earned a day-night doubleheader split with a 6-0 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.

Amed Rosario‘s clutch two-run single in the eighth inning rallied Cleveland to a 3-2 win in the opener, snapping the Guardians’ five-game losing streak.

Polanco came off an IL stint for lower back tightness between games and cracked a two-run homer in the third inning off rookie Konnor Pilkington (1-1) as the Twins restored their lead in the AL Central to three games over the Guardians.

Byron Buxton hit his 20th homer and Jose Miranda connected in the second game for the Twins, who have taken two of three in this five-game set between division rivals.

Winder (3-2) was brought up as the club’s 27th man for the doubleheader and excelled in just his fourth major league start – and first since May 27. The right-hander allowed four hits and one walk.

Tyler Duffy (one inning) and Jovani Moran (two) completed the combined five-hit shutout- the second time Minnesota has blanked Cleveland in a week.

Polanco’s eighth homer gave the Twins a 3-0 lead in the third.

Carols Correa walked with two down and Luis Arraez, who entered the day leading the AL with a .342 average, ripped a triple into the right-field corner to make it 1-0. Polanco followed by lifting a 1-1 pitch over the 19-foot-high wall in left.

It was Polanco’s first homer since June 7 and before the infield mainstay was forced to go on the injured list for the first time in his nine-year major league career.

Cleveland’s defense prevented the Twins from tacking on more runs in the fourth, when Ryan Jeffers was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single and Miranda got caught off third after a failed safety squeeze.

Polanco, though, made it 4-0 in the fifth when he avoided a double play by legged out a grounder. Miranda’s fifth homer made it 5-0 in the sixth.

Down 2-1 in the opener, the Guardians came back against reliever Emilio Pagan (1-3), who walked Myles Straw and rookie Steven Kwan before facing Rosario.

Cleveland’s shortstop then slapped a 3-2 pitch through the middle to give the Guardians a major lift. When he rounded first, Rosario, who went 3 for 4 and has five three-hit games in June, skipped in the air.

Correa’s homer leading off the eighth had given the Twins a 2-1 lead. Correa connected on a 1-0 pitch from reliever Sam Hentges (2-0), driving his ninth homer – and fourth in five games against Cleveland this season – just over the railing in left field.

Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 18th save in 20 tries.

Minnesota starter Devin Smeltzer held the Guardians to just one run and striking out a career-high nine in six innings.

NEW, OLD GUY

Sandy Leon caught the opener for Cleveland after being reacquired in a trade from Cincinnati before the game. The Guardians were in a bind with catcher Austin Hedges going on the injured list with a concussion sustained last weekend.

Leon was with Cleveland for 25 games in 2020.

ON THE MOUND

Looking to save his bullpen for the doubleheader, Guardians manager Terry Francona used utilityman Ernie Clement to pitch the ninth in Monday’s 11-1 blowout loss. Clement gave up two runs but got an inning-ending double play.

Francona had a similar experience, pitching as a position player for Milwaukee against Oakland in 1989.

“If you look, we had one strikeout as a staff that day,” he said with a smile. “It was me. Struck out Stan Javier. Then it kind of got me going. Went up to Seattle the next day and hit a home run. For about the next month kind of swung the bat a little better. It was kind of fun.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Trevor Larnach (core muscle strain) had successful surgery in Philadelphia. The 25-year-old had been bothered by increasing pain and opted for the operation. He’s expected to resume baseball activities in six weeks.

UP NEXT

Twins RHP Dylan Bundy (4-4, 4.80 ERA) starts Thursday against Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill (4-4, 3.76).

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.