Lewis slams in 9-run inning, Twins beat virus-hit Guardians

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Royce Lewis hit a grand slam for his first big league homer, closing out a nine-run fifth inning that sent the Minnesota Twins past the coronavirus-stricken Cleveland Guardians 12-8 on Friday night.

Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Gary Sánchez also scored for Minnesota. The play-off came after Minnesota was shut out in two of its three games against Houston.

“It came down to the good batsmen that we dreamed of. We had one after another,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was kind of a breakthrough where we actually created this really big separation that we’re always looking for.”

The Guardians returned after calling off a game Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox – it was the first COVID-19-related postponement at the majors this season.

Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis led the team in place of manager Terry Francona, who entered MLB health and safety protocols this week. Also absent are first baseman coach Sandy Alomar, third baseman coach Mike Sarbaugh, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, assistant pitching coach Joe Torres and batting analyst Justin Toole.

Earlier Friday, Cleveland outfielder Josh Naylor was placed on the COVID-19 injured list.

“We just want to be accountable to each other and go out and pick each other up and play the game the right way,” Willis said. “I think they’re in a good frame of mind.”

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