Bailey Ober won a duel of young starting pitchers on Friday, overcoming rookie Peyton Battenfield as the visiting Minnesota Twins edged the Cleveland Guardians 2-0 on the strength of Max Kepler’s two-run home run
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The 6-foot-9 Ober, making his third start of the season, lasted seven innings, allowing just singles to Jose Ramirez and Oscar Gonzalez and a double by Josh Naylor.
Ober (2-0) struck out six and walked one, throwing 66 of his 91 pitches for strikes, and lowered his ERA to 0.98 in the process.
Battenfield retired the first 17 Twins hitters he faced before Christian Vazquez broke up the 25-year-old rookie’s perfect game bid with two outs in the top of the sixth
Six pitches later, Max Kepler turned on an 87-mph cut fastball from Battenfield and crushed it 440 feet into the right-center field bleachers for a homer, spoiling Battenfield’s shutout.
Battenfield (0-3) was the hard-luck loser, finishing seven innings with just those two hits. He struck out seven batters without issuing a walk.
The Guardians ran themselves out of a rally in the seventh when Gonzalez chopped an infield single to the right of Ober, who leaped and threw too late to first for the out. Ramirez tried to score from second base but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw by Twins first baseman Donovan Solano to the catcher Vazquez
Right-hander Jorge Lopez pitched a perfect eighth for Minnesota with one strikeout.
Minnesota closer Jhoan Duran, who led MLB with 392 pitches thrown at 100 mph or faster in 2022, came on to pitch the ninth. He walked Steven Kwan to open the inning before striking out Amed Rosario, getting Ramirez to ground out and striking out Naylor for his seventh save.
The Twins and Guardians each managed only three hits in the game
–Field Level Media
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