CLEVELAND – In two starts spanning seven days, Adalberto Mejia has shut out AL Central-leading Cleveland for 10 innings on two hits and one walk.
It represents a step forward for the young lefthander — as long as his injury is not too much of a step back.
Mejia left Tuesday night’s rain-delayed game after five innings with a three-run lead, and a strained left wrist. But, up until his last pitch, he was aggressive and efficient.
Cleveland scored twice in the eighth, setting up a nail-biting finish. With the tying run on second, Fernando Rodney struck out Francisco Lindor looking early Wednesday morning as the Twins held on for a 3-2 victory, making Mejia’s outing hold up.
The Twins hope Mejia can make his next start Sunday at Detroit and not miss any time because of the injury, suffered when he threw his 68th and last pitch of the fifth inning.
“My last pitch was a slider, and I felt like a shock in there,” Mejia said. “The trainer checked me. It’s just a little tension in my wrist.”
The area is in the forearm but more toward the wrist than the elbow. Mejia underwent treatment afterward and felt better, so the Twins believe it is a minor issue. They won’t know for sure until he throws a bullpen session later this week, but they didn’t seem too worried after the game.
“He said the last pitch he threw kind of had a stinging effect in the lower left forearm, closer to the wrist, that radiated up to the elbow,” manager Paul Molitor said. “There was some swelling in the area we kind of checked out. We think it’s a mild strain. We’re going to see how it reacts tomorrow, see if we can get it under control. I don’t think we’ll make any decision on his next start until we get a look at him tomorrow.”
Mitch Garver provided all the Twins’ scoring with a three-run homer in the second. Eddie Rosario tied a career high with four hits. And Rodney collected his 25th save.
After waiting 2 hours, 10 minutes for storms to blow out of town, the rematch between Mejia and Indians righthander Carlos Carrasco began.
Mejia, who tossed five shutout innings last week vs. the Indians at Target Field, added five more scoreless innings against Cleveland on Tuesday. He even made it look easier the second time around, as he retired the last 12 batters he faced before leaving the game.
Carrasco was magnificent vs. the Twins last week, striking out 10 over 7⅓ shutout innings. But he gave up 10 hits over 6⅓ innings Tuesday — including a big blow in the second.
“We had baserunners all night long,” Molitor said. “We didn’t get a lot of big hits, but we got one that counted.”
Logan Forsythe was hit by a pitch and Jake Cave singled to bring Garver up. Carrasco threw a pitch over the middle of the plate and Garver smashed it 411 feet and into the seats in left-center for a 3-0 Twins lead.
“I was looking fastball over [the plate], and he missed location,” Garver said, “and I made him pay.”
Trevor Hildenberger gave up a home run to Lindor and a sacrifice fly in the eighth as Cleveland got within 3-2. Yan Gomes led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single, on a grounder to third Miguel Sano could not handle. Gomes went to second on a passed ball by Garver.
Lindor batted again with two outs. But Rodney fired a 2-2 fastball past him for strike three, and then shot his imaginary arrow into the Cleveland night.