Triston McKenzie Delivers When Cleveland Guardians Need It Most Against Twins

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Put the defibrillators away, “Sticks” got you.

The end of the Guardians’ 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins turned a bit hairy on Saturday, but the score belies the performance of starter Triston McKenzie.

The 25-year-old McKenzie pitched to a team that missed two of its starters and was once again solid when the Guardians needed him most.

The Twins brought out the winning run at the plate with two outs in a ninth with four runs, but still left the park 3½ games behind the first place Guardians.

Triston McKenzie:Young starter showing he belongs in Guardians leader’s conversation.

“I thought he was good,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “He had two walks. One in the first and one in the second and then none. It’s funny, guys have asked from time to time if he would come into the game. I thought he came out again today with his good fastball and held it and then found his curveball. I really liked him.”

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Triston McKenzie Finally Gets Behind the Minnesota Twins

The proof was in McKenzie’s pitching line against a team that has had its number this season.

Before Saturday, the righthanded McKenzie threw 17⅓ innings this season against the Twins and gave up 16 runs – all earned.

He struckout 18 in the previous three starts against the Twins, but also gave up seven homeruns.

“I mean, this is a team we played a lot against this year,” McKenzie told TBEN Sports. “I didn’t know how much [confidence] it gave me, it was more just going out for zeros, just giving the team a strong start. ”

McKenzie did a little more than that. He hit seven strong innings and gave up six hits. He walked two batters and struckout five, but most importantly, he didn’t concede a run.

It’s the second solid start in a row for McKenzie, who gave up three points — two earned — in a 6-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

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Like Saturday, McKenzie walked two batters and struckout five batters.

“I think with good players or pitchers you see that they are going to make adjustments,” Francona said. “Not that he’s never been a hard worker, but I think guys are looking for another gear [and] start to understand what it takes to be consistent.”

Guardians second baseman Andrés Gimenez made another web gem to get Cleveland out of a hairy situation in the third inning of a 6-4 win over Minnesota on September 10, 2022.

Respect those who brought you there

They also know when to give thanks when it’s due.

Second baseman Andrés Giménez made a diving catch of a line shot by Max Kepler to end the bottom of the third inning with runners on first and third base.

In the eighth, leftfielder Will Benson brought a ball back into the park via another shot by Kepler to end the inning with another loud bang.

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“I think my boys helped me,” McKenzie said. “I think there are some great plays behind me. … [Gimenez] makes a diving action on Kepler’s ball that could have changed the game greatly. And I also think I think I capitalized and made some good pitches in those situations. ”

With the Chicago White Sox only a game and a half behind, the Guardians have won two big games against the Twins.

The magic number is 23 before the regular season ends on October 5.

“[The vibe] has been the same as the beginning of the year,” said McKenzie. “We are playing hard here. We play the game our way and we don’t want to be influenced by that.

“I think here, even if the games get tough, we have to remember that this is our game and we have to play it the same.”

Contact Brad Bournival at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bbournival.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians Triston McKenzie solid in must-win game over Twins