Gant wins, Rooker homers as Twins blank Indians 3-0
CLEVELAND (AP) — One of the Twins’ expectant fathers delivered.
Hours after manager Rocco Baldelli’s wife gave birth, Brent Rooker homered as he awaits a call from home for an arriving baby and Minnesota beat Cleveland 3-0 on Tuesday night, spoiling Indians starter Aaron Civale’s return from injury.
Rooker’s 421-foot shot in the seventh off reliever Alex Young made it 2-0.
“I was looking for something up in the zone and got it,” Rooker said.
John Gant (5-9) pitched five solid innings to get his first win since joining the Twins, who beat the Indians for the sixth time in seven games.
“The boys scratched and clawed and made some plays tonight, and pushed some runs across,” said Gant, who came over from St. Louis in a July 30 trade. “All in all a good team win.”
Gant (5-9) didn’t allow a run on three hits. The right-hander, who had been winless since May 26 — a span of 27 appearances — had to survive a scare in the third inning when Indians slugger Franmil Reyes flew out to the base of the wall in left-center with the bases loaded.
Gant later found out the deep shot came during a grand slam promotion the Indians were running that inning.
“It was nice to not give that one up,” said Gant, who admitted he wasn’t sure when it left Reyes’ bat. “I didn’t think he got it full on, but he’s a big ol’ boy so he doesn’t have to get it full on for it to go.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen. I was hanging on the edge of my seat if you will.”
Four Twins relievers finished the combined seven-hitter — Minnesota pitchers had 13 strikeouts — with Alex Colomé working the ninth for his 13th save in his fourth straight game.
“We did tell him tomorrow he can watch the game,” joked interim manager Bill Evers.
The Indians failed to homer for the first time in 20 games, ending the longest streak in club history.
Cleveland’s loss was softened by Civale’s comeback outing, his first start since he sprained his right middle finger in a June 21 start against the Cubs. He gave up just one run and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The 26-year-old Civale (10-3), who was leading the majors in wins when he got hurt, was sharp despite the long layoff. He was in command until the Twins scored in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Andrelton Simmons.
Civale was determined to pitch again in 2021 for personal reasons as well as help the Indians, who have stayed competitive while also being without ace Shane Bieber (shoulder) for nearly three months.
“It’s awesome to be back out there,” he said. “Pitching at Progressive Field again, it’s always a delight. I don’t think you ever take it for granted, but when you have it taken away from you, you appreciate it that much more.”
Baldelli remained away from the team following the birth of his daughter. Louisa Sunny arrived early Tuesday.
Evers received a text from Baldelli after the manager’s wife, Allie, delivered the couple’s first child.
“It was awesome,” said the 67-year-old Evers, who is retiring after the season. “It brings tears to my eyes knowing he texted me right after the baby was born.”
Evers expects Baldellli to return Friday, when the Twins open a series at home with Kansas City.
Indians manager Terry Francona is recovering from toe surgery, his second operation since stepping aside in July.
The 62-year-old Francona previously had his hip replaced. The procedure Tuesday was to fix his left big toe, which became infected during the offseason and required him to wear a walking boot for months.
TO (NOT) CATCH A THIEF
The Indians have stolen 29 straight bases, the longest successful streak since steals started being tracked in 1920.
It’s the longest run in the majors since Boston swiped 40 straight from Aug. 2013 to April 2014.
On the eve of Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame induction, both interim managers reflected on the Yankees shortstop’s stellar career.
Evers managed Jeter in the early 1990s, when he played in the Gulf Coast League.
“He was a little homesick,” Evers said. “At the end of the year he had to get a couple of base hits just to hit over .200.”
Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale coached against Jeter in the AL East. He always appreciated his competitiveness and class.
“When they say that he’s The Captain, it says a lot about him because he represents so much,” Hale said. “Winner.”
Twins: Rookie RHP Joe Ryan (0-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his second career start as the teams continue their four-game series. Ryan lost to the Cubs last week, allowing three runs and three hits in five innings.
Indians: RHP Triston McKenzie (4-5, 4.62) has won three straight starts, giving up just two runs and five hits in 21 innings.
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