Josh Naylor and Andres Gimenez ripped back-to-back extra-base hits in the seventh inning to break open a scoreless tie and power the Cleveland Guardians past the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Sunday in Minneapolis.
Right-handers Joe Ryan of the Twins and Triston McKenzie of the Guardians allowed only a hit apiece early as both starting pitchers were firmly in control until midway in the game.
Ryan faced the minimum of 20 batters and didn't allow a three-ball count until he walked Jose Ramirez on a full-count pitch with two outs in the seventh. But Naylor made Ryan pay by lining a 1-0 fastball high off the right-field wall to score Ramirez and end Ryan's outing.
Left-hander Caleb Thielbar came on in relief for Ryan, and Gimenez lashed a 2-2 fastball off the top of the center-field fence for a triple, driving in Naylor for a 2-0 Guardians lead.
McKenzie -- making his 2023 debut for the Guardians after straining his teres major on March 27 in spring training -- was dominant for five innings.
He struck out 10 Twins and allowed only Michael A. Taylor's single and one walk on 79 pitches before giving way to James Karinchak (2-4), who threw a scoreless sixth to earn the win.
Ryan (7-3) took the loss after pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing just the two hits and a walk while striking out four.
Guardians right-hander Trevor Stephan pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts.
Enyel De Los Santos took over for Cleveland in the eighth and Willi Castro greeted him by crushing his first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, 440 feet into the right-center field seats to cut the Guardians' lead to 2-1.
Taylor knocked a ground-rule double into the left-field stands before De Los Santos got out of the inning by getting Royce Lewis to ground out to third baseman Ramirez to end the inning.
Emmanuel Clase, the MLB saves leader, pitched the ninth for Cleveland, allowing a walk and a hit but striking out Castro for his 19th save.
The seven games between the Guardians and Twins this season have now been decided by a total of 10 runs, with Cleveland winning four of the contests.
--Field Level Media