Ryan pitches shutout ball again, Twins beat Guardians 3-0

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND – Joe Ryan pitched shutout ball for the second straight outing and become only the second Minnesota starter to reach the eighth inning this season, leading the Twins over the AL-Central leading Cleveland Guardians 3-0 on Sunday.

Jake Cave hit a solo homer in the second off Cody Morris (0-2) and AL batting leader Luis Arraez added a two-run single in the ninth against Enyel De Los Santos. Third-place Minnesota stopped an eight-game losing streak against Cleveland, and the second-place Chicago White Sox moved within 3 1/2 games of the Guardians.

Cleveland had won the first three games of the five-game series, which ends Monday, The third-place Twins trail the Guardians by six games.

“It was kind of like a stopper-type performance from him at a time everyone felt we need someone to go out there and do something just like that,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Ryan (12-8) allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked two in his first start since being pulled after seven hitless innings and 106 pitches against Kansas City. The only prior Minnesota starter to reach the eighth this year was Dylan Bundy on June 18 at Arizona.

“It’s super important to me,” Ryan said of pitching deep. “It’s something we’ve been trying to preach as a staff the whole year. It hasn’t happened as consistently as we would have liked.”

Ryan said he took his usual approach, which is having a no-hitter on his mind from the time he takes the mound.

“I think about it every game until whatever happens happens,” he said. “If it happens on the first pitch, I’m like there goes the no-hitter.”

Center fielder Gilberto Celestino made a running catch near the warning track of Jose Ramirez’s drive to end a threat in the sixth. The Twins’ infield also turned three double plays.

“Celestino’s catch was beyond electric,” Ryan said. “That’s probably the most double plays I’ve had all year.”

Ryan was pulled after Myles Straw‘s two-out single in the eighth. Jovani Moran retired Andres Gimenez on a flyout and Jhoan Duran pitched the ninth for his eighth save. Ramirez drew a one-out walk, but Duran struck out the final two hitters.

The Twins lost both games of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader, including the nightcap that lasted 15 innings.

“Great day at the ballpark, beautiful day out there after a real long day at the ballpark,” Baldelli said. “It’s amazing what a tremendous effort from your starting pitcher and a couple big swings does for putting a good vibe back into things.”

Morris struck out six over six innings in his fourth major league start.

“He filled up the strike zone, better each time out, changeup was effective,” manager Terry Francona said. “As he gets more consistency with that curveball that’s certainly going to help.”

Other than Cave’s home run, Morris’ toughest battle came in the first during a 14-pitch battle with Arraez to begin the game that ended with a line-drive single to right.

RECORD BOOK

Gimenez was hit by a pitch for the 21st time this season, one more than the previous club record set by Ryan Garko in 2007. … Amed Rosario had eight hits Saturday, tying the Cleveland record for most hits in a doubleheader. Rosario had four hits in each game. Nap Lajoie (1910), George Burns (1924) and Earl Averill (1933) also had eight hits in a doubleheader.

ROSTER MOVES

Minnesota selected the contract of RHP Ronny Henriquez from Triple-A St. Paul. He would become the first Twins player who was born in the 2000s to appear in a game. Henriquez was born on June 20, 2000. …RHP Dereck Rodriguez, who pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and got the loss in Saturday’s second game, was designated for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: 2B Nick Gordon was out of the lineup after playing both games Saturday, but walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He was removed from Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his foot and was hit on the arm by a pitch in Saturday’s second game.

Guardians: Francona said RHP Zach Plesac (broken right hand) will go on a minor league rehab assignment or throw a simulated game Tuesday. Plesac has been on the injured list since Aug. 30.

UP NEXT

RHP Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.83 ERA) will start for Minnesota in the series finale. Gray is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three starts against the Guardians this season. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA) will pitch for Cleveland. Quantrill is 12-0 in 41 games at Progressive Field and has gone 33 straight home starts without a loss.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.