McKenzie and Indians win opener of doubles against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Triston McKenzie has been sent to triple A four times this season, as the 24-year-old overcame some difficulties early on.
Now Cleveland has another budding star pitcher, making one stellar start after another.
McKenzie went through six innings of Game 1 of a doubles program to lead the Indians to Minnesota 3-1 on Tuesday, after a comeback to the wrist by Twins rookie Joe Ryan sidelined half the game.
“It was pretty much the only goal for me to go out there, understand my control and understand how to attack the strike zone,” McKenzie said. “The last month and a half, the last two months, has been just the culmination of all the work that has been done.”
McKenzie (5-6) had seven strikeouts, including Byron Buxton on three occasions, with just three hits and a walk allowed to register his fifth straight outing of six innings or more and a run or less. The right-hander has struck out 96 of the last 112 batters he’s faced.
“When he needs to hit he has been able to make several shots that he has in the strike zone,” said interim Indians manager DeMarlo Hale.
McKenzie was behind after a brace produced by Andrelton Simmons in third, but Bradley Zimmer tied the game in fifth with a home run on the flaps in front of the parking ramp behind the second bridge in right field.
Ryan immediately got back to work after that, but was forced to retire in the sixth when leader Myles Straw smashed a single off the throwing arm of the 25-year-old right-hander, making his third start in the big one. league. Ryan knew right away he was injured, walked away from the mound and went straight to the dugout where he slammed his glove in frustration. He then apologized in an interview for the “out of character” explosion.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said Ryan had a bruise and x-rays of his wrist did not reveal any fractures. Ryan allowed three hits and one walk with four strikeouts, throwing 50 of 67 shots for strikes.
“He didn’t swell too much. There is a nice stitching mark on the cuff so it will be pretty cool to watch for a few days and then it will go away and I’ll be back at the pitcher, ”Ryan said.
Austin Hedges scored an RBI brace in the seventh against Danny Coulombe (3-2) and a field error on third baseman Luis Arraez on a pointed ground ball by pinch hitter Yu Chang gave an insurance run for the closest Emmanuel Clase, who recorded his 23rd stop on 27 occasions with a perfect seventh.
There’s no more meaningful aspect of September’s games for exhibition teams like these than taking a closer look at young starting pitchers like McKenzie and Ryan. Ryan beat McKenzie in Cleveland last week, putting in a perfect game in the seventh inning of a 3-0 win over Minnesota.
Acquired from league-leading Tampa Bay on July 22 for star hitter Nelson Cruz, Ryan deftly slipped into the rotation after helping the United States win a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and then have made two starts for the Triple-A St. Paul.
Ryan has the makings and swagger to quickly become a fan favorite, with his long, thick, curly brown hair sticking out of his cap and his back mustache reinforcing his towering presence on the mound.
“The presence of Joe’s mound, I think, is exceptional for a young player. The way he continues to adjust and read hitters and prepare for his outings is very impressive, ”said Baldelli.
THE BIEB IS ALMOST BACK
Speaking of starting pitcher, RHP Indians Shane Bieber – reigning AL Cy Young award winner – was set to begin a rehab mission with a start of about 50 pitches Tuesday night for Triple-A Columbus. Bieber has been out for more than three months with a strained throwing shoulder.
“We would expect it to somehow increase its volume and intensity,” Hale said. “He’s throwing against another team. It’s a good sign.
Indians: C Roberto Pérez (inflammation of the right shoulder) has been reinstated from his second stint on the injured list this season and is expected to win the second game behind the plate. Pérez has missed the last six weeks. C Ryan Lavarnway was assigned to make room.
Twins: RHP John Gant was placed on the injured list due to left abdominal strain that forced him to call off his start against the Yankees in the first inning on Monday. LHP Andrew Albers has been recalled from Triple-A for the third time in less than four weeks.
LHP Logan Allen (1-6, 6.86 ERA) starts for the Indians in Game 2, against LHP Charlie Barnes (0-3, 6.59 ERA) for the Twins.
RHP Cal Quantrill (5-3, 3.04 ERA) throws for Cleveland to wrap up the series Wednesday night, when RHP Griffin Jax (3-3, 6.72 ERA) takes the mound for Minnesota.
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