The Minnesota Twins have held first place in the AL Central most of the season and moved back up to a three-game lead after blowing out the second-place Guardians Monday night. It was total domination from start to finish, basically, with the Twins prevailing 11-1.
A booming Gary Sánchez three-run homer got things started in the second for the visitors.
Meanwhile, Twins starter Sonny Gray stifled the Guardians' bats. In seven scoreless innings, he gave up just three hits, all singles, and walked one. He only struck out three and let his defense help him. In his 10 starts this season, he has a 2.17 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. The lone Guardians run in the game was on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth with the game already over.
This was the first of an important five-game series in Cleveland this week after the two teams played a three-game series in Minnesota last week.
The Guardians had actually taken control of the division less than a week ago but have lost five straight games since. The Twins had a 7 1/2 game lead over the Guardians on May 29, but then the Guardians went on a run where they won 17 of 21 games, culminating with Wednesday's comeback, 11-10 win. It pushed the Guardians to a one-game lead in the Central.
The Twins were able to salvage the final game of that series on Thursday, 1-0, and have now won four of five while the Guardians have dropped five in a row.
In an oddity: The Twins' lead in the division is three games, but they've won six more games while the two teams are tied in the loss column.
These two teams will meet again Tuesday for a doubleheader. If the Twins can manage just one more win this series, they'll escape Cleveland still in first place.