Bullpen meltdown costs Twins in 7-6 extra-innings loss

Megan Ryan, Star Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CLEVELAND — Emilio Pagan helped blow his second game in as many days, as the Twins fell, 7-6, to the Guardians in extra innings Wednesday.

After Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Max Kepler combined to give the Twins a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Pagan again struggled. He got his first batter out, only to throw a wild pitch to advance the free runner to third. He then walked Steven Kwan and gave up an RBI double to Amed Rosario.

Jharel Cotton took over and got Jose Ramirez to line out. But a passed ball on catcher Ryan Jeffers let another run trickle in before Josh Naylor hit a walk-off two-run homer.

The Twins are 43-35, still atop the American League Central, with Cleveland in second at 38-34.

This was the second time in the past nine days that the Twins and Guardians needed extra innings to decide the winner. When the division's top two teams began a stint of eight games in 10 days on June 21, Cleveland prevailed 6-5 in 11 innings. Overall, the Twins are 3-4 against the Guardians in that span, with the final venture Thursday afternoon.

Neither Buxton nor Correa started Wednesday's game, both given a breather: Correa for playing in both games of Tuesday's doubleheader, and Buxton for managing his knee tendinitis.

Buxton pinch hit in the ninth and grounded out. But he was the runner on second in the 10th inning. Luis Arraez's fly out in foul territory helped Buxton scamper to third. And then Correa pinch hit and brought him home on a liner to right field.


Max Kepler then stepped up for a two-run homer to give the Twins a 6-3 lead.

Twins starter Dylan Bundy gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. With the bases loaded, Franmil Reyes brought in one run on a fielder's choice before a throwing error from Arraez allowed another runner to score.

Kwan's leadoff single in the third, plus his stolen base, helped him come around on Rosario's double to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead. Bundy lasted five innings, allowing six hits and three runs.

But the Twins made up all of that distance in the sixth inning. With two outs, Gary Sanchez doubled. Then Alex Kirilloff smacked his first home run of the year before Gio Urshela added a solo shot to tie the game.

Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill went eight innings and surrendered eight hits and three runs with three strikeouts.

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