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CLEVELAND (AP) — Steven Kwan connected for his first home run since last season to snap a seventh-inning tie, sending the Cleveland Guardians to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Kwan muscled a 2-1 pitch from Jorge Alcala (0-1) over the wall in center field for his first homer since Sept. 25. The surprising, 402-foot drive from their leadoff hitter was just what the Guardians needed with their offense scuffling.
It was only Cleveland’s 18th homer this season and first since April 29.
Max Kepler hit a two-run homer and Carlos Correa added a solo shot for the AL Central-leading Twins, who have homered in a team record 18 straight games. Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli was ejected for arguing in the fourth.
Reliever Trevor Stephan (2-1) picked up the win despite allowing Correa’s tying homer in the seventh. Emmanuel Clase pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 11th save in 14 chances.
Rookie Logan Allen had another strong start for Cleveland and José Ramírez’s hustle on the bases helped the Guardians’ struggling offense do enough against Sonny Gray to take a 3-0 lead.
Allen didn’t allow a run until the sixth, when Kepler touched him up for a two-run homer. Making just his third start, Allen outdueled Gray, who came in with the majors’ lowest ERA (0.77) but gave up three runs in five innings.
Gray had allowed just three runs in 35 innings coming in, and the right-hander held Cleveland scoreless for three innings before the Guardians scored three runs — the first while barely getting a ball out of the infield.
Amed Rosario walked leading off and went to third when Ramírez singled off first baseman Donovan Solano’s glove. Josh Naylor followed with a smash that third baseman José Miranda stopped with a dive.
As Rosario scored, Miranda couldn’t make a throw, and while he was still on the ground, Ramírez recognized the bag at third was uncovered and alertly broke for it, eluding the tag with a wide slide.
Baldelli came storming out of the dugout to argue Ramírez should be out and was tossed for the second time this year.
Josh Bell then hit an RBI single and a rattled Gray walked No. 9 hitter Myles Straw to force in Cleveland’s third run.
Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (shoulder strain) is continuing his rehab in Arizona. McKenzie, who began the season on the injured list, recently began throwing bullpen sessions. He’ll be at the team’s facility until he’s ready to go on a rehab assignment. The club is optimistic he’ll be activated on May 29.
Twins RHP Joe Ryan (5-0, 3.27 ERA), who is 3-0 in five career starts against Cleveland, take on Guardians RHP Cal Quantrill (1-2, 4.73) in the series finale.