Nick Gordon’s third-inning home run supported starter Devin Smeltzer and the Minnesota Twins avoided being swept by chilling the Cleveland Guardians with a 1-0 shutout Thursday.
Gordon, filling in for star Byron Buxton in center field, hit a 1-2 Zach Plesac (3-4) curve ball over the center-field wall.
The Guardians couldn’t score against a struggling Minnesota bullpen after packing the bases with no outs in the seventh, having a runner on second with one out in the eighth and putting another runner on second with one out in the ninth. Caleb Thielbar recorded his first save by striking out pinch hitter Steven Kwan to end the game.
Cleveland suffered the fifth setback in its last 22 games. The Guardians (36-29) lead the AL Central by percentage points, having played six fewer games than the Twins (39-32). The two teams have a five-game series next week.
For the Twins, Puerto Ricans Carlos Correa 4-3, and José Miranda 2-0. Colombian Gio Urshela 3-1. Dominican Gary Sánchez 4-0. The Venezuelan Luis Arráez 4-0.
For the Guardians, the Venezuelan Andrés Giménez 3-1. Dominicans Franmil Reyes 4-1, Óscar González 3-0, José Ramírez 4-1, and Amed Rosario 3-1.