Cleveland rallies again, tops Twins 11-10 for first place in AL Central

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS
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In another back-and-forth game Wednesday, the Twins officially dropped out of the American League Central lead, falling yet again to Cleveland 11-10 after entering the ninth inning with a 10-7 lead.

After a 6-5 victory in 11 innings Tuesday helped the Guardians to a share of the top spot in the division, they now have a one-game lead with a chance to widen the gap to two games with a sweep in the series finale Thursday.

In front of an announced Target Field crowd of 25,604 on Wednesday, the Twins squandered two multi-run leads and dropped to 38-32. The Guardians are 36-28.

Carlos Correa hit home runs in his first two at-bats against Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie, and Ryan Jeffers' RBI double scored another run in between them. Gio Urshela smacked a leadoff triple in the fourth inning and scored on Jeffers' single. Luis Arraez's sacrifice fly scored one more run in that inning as the Twins went up 5-1.

McKenzie would let in one more run, a solo homer from Max Kepler in the fifth, before leaving the game. In all, he allowed nine hits, a walk and six runs, while striking out five.

Twins starter Sonny Gray gave up his first run in the third inning, when Myles Straw hit a ground-rule double before scoring on Steven Kwan's triple. He ran into more trouble in the fifth, surrendering a leadoff homer to Austin Hedges and three consecutive hits after that scored another run. He exited having allowed eight hits and four runs — three earned — with four strikeouts. Caleb Thielbar took over but let another run in on a balk.

The Guardians took their first lead in the seventh inning with Jharel Cotton on the mound. Amed Rosario hit a leadoff home run. Cotton hit Jose Ramirez with a pitch and then coughed up another homer, this one a two-run shot to Oscar Gonzalez.

Down one run, the Twins put together a big bottom of the seventh. With two outs on the board, Kepler drew a walk and Gary Sanchez tallied a base hit. Alex Kirilloff drove in one with his base hit before Gio Urshela sent a three-run homer to the bullpen to put the Twins up 10-7.

But the Guardians again came back. Emilio Pagan had given up the tying home run Tuesday but struck out all three of his batters in the eighth inning. He stayed in for the ninth to close out the game, but Cleveland recorded three consecutive hits off him, including an RBI double from Josh Naylor. Griffin Jax replaced Pagan with two on and no outs, only to have Gonzalez drop a two-run single. Cleveland took the one-run lead on Owen Miller's sacrifice fly before the inning ended.

Emmanuel Clase had a one-two-three bottom of the ninth to earn his 17th save.