Nick Gordon hit a solo home run and four pitchers combined for a shutout as the Minnesota Twins recorded a 1-0 win over the visiting Cleveland Guardians on Thursday afternoon.
Twins starter Devin Smeltzer (4-1) and relievers Joe Smith, Jhoan Duran and Caleb Thielbar teamed up to limit the Guardians to five hits. Minnesota avoided a three-game sweep in the series finale.
Guardians starter Zach Plesac (2-5) took the hard-luck loss despite allowing only one run on three hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out six.
Smeltzer set the tone early as the Twins snapped a three-game losing streak. He scattered three hits, walked none and struck out three over six innings.
Smith escaped a turbulent seventh inning before Duran worth the eighth and got the first out of the ninth. Thielbar entered the game and allowed a one-out double to Andres Gimenez, but he notched the next two outs for his first career save in 214 appearances.
Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead on Gordon’s solo homer in the bottom of the third inning. The 26-year-old belted an 80 mph curveball an estimated 422 feet over the wall in center field.
It was the second homer of the season and sixth of his career for Gordon, whom the Twins selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Cleveland squandered a scoring opportunity in the seventh inning after it loaded the bases with no outs against Smith. Ernie Clement and Luke Maile hit back-to-back fielder’s choice ground balls, and Myles Straw lined out to right field to end the inning.
In the eighth, Amed Rosario was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Duran with one out. He did not make it any further as Jose Ramirez struck out swinging and Oscar Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop to end the frame.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton did not play because of a sore right knee.
The Guardians completed a nine-game road trip with a 7-2 record. They will return to Cleveland for an 11-game homestand beginning Friday with a series opener against the Boston Red Sox.
Minnesota will remain home for a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies starting Friday.
–Field Level Media