Joe Ryan shines once more as Twins beat Guardians
Minnesota snaps 8-game losing skid against Cleveland
CLEVELAND — Joe Ryan waded into unfamiliar territory on Sunday — both for himself and for Twins starters: the eighth inning.
It was the first time in the rookie’s young career that he pitched past the seventh and just the second time all season that a Twins starter has recorded an out in the eighth inning. And it was sorely needed after the Twins emptied out the bullpen during Saturday’s doubleheader, which featured a marathon 15-inning nightcap. Ryan’s 7 2/3 pristine innings on Sunday afternoon propelled the Twins to a 3-0 win over the Guardians at Progressive Field.
The eighth inning, he said, was cool. It would have been cool, he said, to finish it, too.
He didn’t get the chance, but his effort went a long way on Sunday.
“(It was) super important to me,” Ryan said of pitching deep to help preserve the bullpen. “It’s something we’ve preached as a staff the whole year, and it hasn’t really happened as consistently as we’d like. But yeah, just the ability — it was awesome in a one-run game, too, to be able to go out there and make pitches and stay in the game a little longer.”
Ryan was protecting a one-run lead for most of his start after Jake Cave hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning. But the one run was enough for Ryan on a day in which he didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning.
That after throwing seven hitless innings in his last start out against the Kansas City Royals. Between those two starts, Ryan hasn’t allowed a run in 14 2/3 innings. He became the first starter for the Twins (73-73) to throw seven or more scoreless innings in consecutive starts since Martín Perez accomplished the feat in 2019.
“I like it when they don’t score,” Ryan said. “That’s good for us, so if we can just keep them not scoring and if we score more, that’s fun. And usually a good outcome.”
“When you throw the ball the way he did last time out, to come back out here and basically do it again and throw the ball with that type of consistency and stuff and executions, all the stuff we talk about every day, he was at a very, very high level today from beginning to end.”
Catcher Gary Sanchez, who was behind the plate for both of those starts, praised his control and said Ryan “did a great job not giving them a lot of opportunities to foul a lot of balls.”
“We were just attacking,” Sanchez said.
And in the process, they helped the Twins snap an eight-game losing streak to the Guardians (79-67), including three losses in the past two days.
After Ryan, the Twins turned to Jovani Moran, who recorded the final out of the ninth inning, and then Jhoan Duran, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning after Luis Arraez had given the Twins some breathing room.
The Twins loaded the bases using a pair of walks and a hit before Arraez, who began the game with a 14-pitch at-bat that ended with a single, shot his second hit of the day up the middle, driving in a pair of runs to help put the game away and make a winner out of Ryan and the Twins.
“That’s about as good of a start as you could ever ask for,” Baldelli said. “We’ll take more of that.”
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