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Josh Naylor continues to be at his best in the clutch.
Naylor's two-run home run in the 10th inning gave the Guardians a 7-6 walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night
Cleveland erased a three-run, 10th-inning deficit.
For Naylor, it was his first career walk-off home run. He's had a number of clutch hits this season, though, in helping Cleveland to 17 come-from-behind wins — second most in the American League.
The Guardians lead the AL with 16 wins in their last at-bat.
"That was pretty special there," Guardians manager Terry Francona said of Naylor driving a 2-2 pitch out to left for an opposite-field homer.
Amed Rosario began the comeback with a one-out double off closer Emilio Pagán that scored automatic runner Richie Palacios, prompting the Twins to bring in Jharel Cotton (2-2).
A passed ball by Ryan Jeffers scored Steven Kwan, and Cotton retired José Ramírez before Naylor drove his first game-ending homer onto the left field porch.
After rounding the bases, Naylor headbutted helmeted Francona. Earlier this season, a fired-up Naylor threw his helmet in the dugout following a big extra-inning homer in a win at Chicago.
Minnesota had taken a 6-3 lead in the top of the 10th on an RBI single from Carlos Correa and a two-run homer by Max Kepler off Eli Morgan (4-2). It was Kepler’s 14th home run in 45 career games at Progressive Field.
The teams have split four games in the five-game series, keeping the Twins’ lead over the second-place Guardians in the AL Central at two.
Alex Kirilloff hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Gio Urshela followed with a solo shot off Guardians starter Cal Quantrill, tying the game at 3 on Minnesota’s second back-to-back homers of the year.
Kirilloff matched his season best with three hits, while Urshela had a pair. AL batting leader Luis Arraez went 0 for 5 for the Twins, dropping his average to .337.
Quantrill pitched a career-high eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out three. The right-hander did not issue a walk.
Cleveland went up 2-0 in the first on an RBI grounder from Franmil Reyes, scoring Kwan. Rosario also came home when Arraez threw the ball away while attempting to turn a double play.
The Guardians made it 3-0 in the third when Kwan singled, stole second and scored on Naylor’s sacrifice fly.
Twins righty Dylan Bundy gave up three runs, two earned, over five innings.
Amed Rosario's big June continues
Rosario had his third four-hit game of the season Wednesday, including his second in June.
Rosario is hitting .376 this month. His 41 hits in June are the most in the American League and the most by a Cleveland player since Carlos Baerga's 43 hits in June 1995.
In 26 Junes games, he has 10 multi-hit game and six of those games have been with three or more hits.
Byron Buxton's remarkable 162-game stats
Twins OF Byron Buxton amassed 52 home runs, 95 RBIs and 112 runs over his previous 162 games, a span that began on Sept. 1, 2019. The oft-injured speedster did not start Wednesday, but entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone hit at that level for that period of time — and it still feels like he’s capable of more,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Buck is a fantastic player.”
Twins, Guardians injury updates
Twins: Correa (leg soreness) was not in the lineup after playing all 18 innings in the field during Tuesday's doubleheader. Baldelli said the two-time All-Star was a “little beat up,” but used him off the bench in the 10th. “Carlos wanted both games in the doubleheader, but we had to get him a day off in this series,” Baldelli said.
Guardians: C Austin Hedges (concussion), who is on the seven-day injured list, is working toward a bullpen session. “He had more of a Hedgie personality than he’s had for a couple days, so I think he’s doing OK,” Francona said. Hedges was struck by a foul ball Saturday against the Red Sox.
Twins, Guardians pitching matchups Thursday afternoon
Twins: RHP Chris Archer (2-3, 3.14 ERA) seeks his first career victory over Cleveland in the five-game series finale. Archer is 0-7 with a 5.87 ERA in eight games, all starts, against the Guardians franchise.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (3-4, 3.07 ERA) lost for the first time since May 22 in his last start, giving up three runs over seven innings against Boston. Bieber is 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in his past six outings.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cleveland Guardians' Josh Naylor walks off Twins with home run