Andrés Giménez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Thursday for their second straight win.
Giménez went deep to center a 3-2 shot from Tyler Thornburg (0-2) as Minnesota’s bullpen imploded again.
José Ramírez walked his first goal, the 10th allowed by Minnesota. Josh Naylor’s groundout moved Ramírez to second and Owen Miller flew out.
Giménez followed with his winner, sending the Cleveland players out of the dugout to celebrate the second straight day. The Guardians lead the Majors with 17 past batting victories, including six against the rival Twins.
The Twins failed to hold a 6-3 lead in the 10th inning Wednesday night when the Guardians scored four times and won the game on Naylor’s two-run homer.
Emilio Pagán and Jharel Cotton were unable to take the lead, and Minnesota’s bullpen problems returned less than 24 hours later.
The Twins outscored the Guardians 10-2 in the series.
Cleveland has won three of five games in the series and trails Minnesota by one game in the AL Central. The teams do not meet until September.
The Twins took a 3-1 lead in the eighth and four Minnesota pitchers were working on a hit. Thornburg retired the first batter but hit Giménez with a pitch and walked Franmil Reyes and Sandy León to charge the bases.
Shortstop Carlos Correa made a diving save on the heavily hit ground of Myles Straw. Giménez scored and Reyes headed home when Correa kicked wildly in the third to level the game.
Pinch runner Ernie Clement was tagged trying to score on Steven Kwan’s ground ball and Amed Rosario fouled to end the inning.
Emmanuel Clase (2-2) pitched the ninth.
Starter Chris Archer allowed a two-out single to Ramírez, a line drive over the right-hander’s head that saw the pitcher sitting on the mound after ducking out wide.
Archer walked four straight batters with two outs in the second, including a free pass to Kwan with the bases loaded. Archer was retired after throwing 90 pitches in four innings. He walked six and struck out two.
José Miranda had a three-point brace in the third for Minnesota.
Shane Bieber allowed five hits, struck out five and walked two in six innings.
The series finale marked the last day of Wes Johnson’s tenure as Minnesota pitching coach. Johnson left the Twins to take on the same role at LSU.
“It’s not an easy day,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Wes will be on the plane with us. He will return with us to Minnesota. We will have some time to decompress and talk a little. Some emotions will be present.
Johnson joined the Twins in 2019 after coaching at Arkansas.
Bullpen coach Pete Maki and assistant pitching coach Luis Ramirez are expected to play major roles in Johnson’s absence.
BLOW TO THE HEAD
After his home run on Wednesday, Naylor headbutted Guardians manager Terry Francona, who was wearing a batting helmet. General manager Mike Chernoff said Naylor apologized to Francona on Thursday.
“He was like, I didn’t realize I did that,” Chernoff said. “It was quite funny. When Tito came in (Thursday) his glasses were all askew. He had to go get them and fix them.
Twins: INF Jorge Polanco was given the day off after playing game two of Tuesday and Wednesday night’s doubleheader. He missed 14 games due to lower back tightness.
Goaltenders: Rookie outfielder Oscar Gonzalez was dropped from the roster late with right abdominal strain. RHP James Karinchak’s (back pain) rehab assignment ended on Thursday. He will join the Guardians or be opted for Triple-A Columbus.
Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (6-3, 3.20 ERA) will start Game 1 of a three-game home series against Baltimore on Friday night.
Goaltenders: RHP Aaron Civale (2-4, 7.20 ERA) takes on the New York Yankees in Game 1 of a three-game series Friday night at Progressive Field.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports