Will Brennan hit the first homer allowed this season by Sonny Gray in the seventh inning and Logan Allen pitched six strong innings for the Cleveland Guardians in a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
Brennan drove in three runs and Andrés Giménez and Gabriel Arias each reached base three times in front of him. Steven Kwan added a solo homer in the ninth for Cleveland, which had lost three of four — including the first two games of the four-game series in Minnesota.
“Obviously, we’re contact-first hitters,” Brennan said of the outfielders that started the day with a combined three homers this season. “That’s our game and we’re not going to really get outside of that. If we get balls out front like we did tonight, we have the potential to showcase some juice. But other than that, we’re going to stick to our games.”
Allen (3-2) — who like Brennan is a rookie — allowed a leadoff homer to Jorge Polanco in the first and then settled in, giving up seven hits and two runs. The 24-year-old left-hander hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first eight major league starts.
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“He competes like crazy,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said of Allen. “All the things, he’s got poise. If he walks somebody, he reels it right back in. He doesn’t let anything bother him. He did a good job.”
James Karinchak, Enyel De Los Santos and Emmanuel Clase each pitched an inning of relief with one total hit allowed. Clase earned his MLB-leading 18th save.
Gray (4-1) gave up a season-high 10 hits and tied a season high with three runs allowed, including Brennan’s homer. Gray was the only pitcher in the majors with enough qualifying innings to not allow a homer this season and was the fifth pitcher in the wild-card era (since 1995) to allow no homers in their first 11 starts of the year.
“It doesn’t happen a lot,” Gray said. “It happened. If I go another 60-some-odd innings without one, that’d be great. It just happened. And it happened in a bad situation for us.”
Gray started the day with an AL-best 1.94 ERA, but saw it rise to 2.15.
Finding his way
The 25-year-old Brennan had his third homer in 50 games this season. He had multiple hits in four straight games starting the day and he has hit .526 with four RBIs in his past five games.
“This might sound dramatic, but he might be one of our best players when he gets going,” Kwan said. “He’s contact, power. He can run. He’s got a great arm defensively, great baseball IQ. If he gets going, I think we can be in a really good position.”
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli wasn’t expected to manage the game, but he arrived about 30 minutes before the start and was in the dugout. Baldelli said he spent time at the hospital in the morning and has diverticulitis.
Bench coach Jayce Tingler spoke with the media pregame and went to the mound for pitching changes during the game.
“I’m not moving around too good right now, to be honest with you,” Baldelli said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be here. But if I could walk, I was going to make it to the ballpark today.”
Guardians: SS Amed Rosario was pulled in the fourth inning with left knee soreness. Francona said he’ll likely give Rosario Sunday off with a scheduled off day on Monday. ... RHP Michael Kelly had his contract selected from Triple-A Columbus and RHP Hunter Gaddis was optioned to Triple-A.
Twins: Slugger Joey Gallo was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. OF Kyle Garlick was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul. ... OF Byron Buxton and SS Carlos Correa were both out of the lineup for the second straight game. Buxton has sore ribs from being hit by a pitch Thursday. Correa (plantar fasciitis) said he still feels the pain but is better and hopes to return Sunday.
RHP Triston McKenzie will be activated to make his season debut and start for Cleveland in the series finale Sunday. McKenzie has been out all season with a right teres major strain. RHP Joe Ryan (7-2, 2.77 ERA) starts for Minnesota.