The first-place Minnesota Twins hit three home runs, including a three-run shot by Gary Sanchez in the second inning, to rout the host Cleveland Guardians 11-1 on Monday night.
The Twins now have a three-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central Division.
Sanchez was 3-for-5, with a home run and four RBIs. The catcher’s three-run bomb in the second, his ninth on the season, traveled an estimated 430 feet and kickstarted Minnesota’s runaway victory.
The long ball continues to plague Guardians starter Triston McKenzie (4-6, 4.03 ERA), who has surrendered 15 homers in his last eight starts and 16 on the season.
Nick Gordon went deep against McKenzie in the sixth inning with Sanchez aboard for a 7-0 lead. It was Gordon’s third homer of the season.
McKenzie struggled through six innings and allowed eight hits and seven runs, with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The long-ball trend continued when the Guardians went to the bullpen. Reliever Bryan Shaw gave up Carlos Correa’s two-run blast in the seventh, his eighth on the year. That extended the Twins’ lead to 9-0.
Minnesota veteran Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.17) stymied the Guardians in his seven-inning stint, which matched his season high. He allowed three hits, no runs and one walk. The right-hander struck out three batters. The walk he allowed was his first in his last four starts.
Cleveland has now lost five in a row.
Manager Terry Francona didn’t want to waste any more arms in the blowout and sent in infielder Ernie Clement to pitch the ninth. He allowed four hits and two runs in his major league pitching debut.
The Guardians averted a shutout when Myles Straw scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.
Monday’s contest was the first of a rare five-game series, with a doubleheader on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media