CLEVELAND -- One of the more important things for the Twins over the next two months is to let their younger players develop and audition for bigger roles in 2019.On Tuesday night at Progressive Field, that plan worked to perfection. Second-year left-hander Adalberto Mejia impressed yet again before coming out
CLEVELAND -- One of the more important things for the Twins over the next two months is to let their younger players develop and audition for bigger roles in 2019.
On Tuesday night at Progressive Field, that plan worked to perfection. Second-year left-hander Adalberto Mejia impressed yet again before coming out with a left wrist strain suffered on his final pitch, while rookie catcher Mitch Garver continued his strong second half with a three-run homer to lead the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Indians, after a rain delay of two hours and 10 minutes. Left fielder Eddie Rosario, who is in his fourth season but a year younger than Garver, also impressed, going 4-for-5 with two doubles.
"I think Mejia did a nice job," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's shown some adeptness at being able to handle baserunners and pitch out of jams. He did it a couple times early, made some really good pitches. We had baserunners all night long. We didn't get a lot of big hits, but we got one that really counted."
Mejia, 25, matched his effort against the Indians from Wednesday, as he allowed one hit over five shutout innings for a second straight five-inning scoreless start against Cleveland. He walked one and struck out three, but left after 68 pitches because of the wrist strain, which the Twins hope is minor. Mejia, who improved to 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and has a scoreless streak of 15 1/3 innings, will undergo further testing on Wednesday, but is confident it's not going to be a serious setback.
"I felt good obviously overall throughout the game, [and] the decision to take me out -- I was just being careful from my end," said Mejia through an interpreter. "And the team decided that was the best course of action. I got some treatment after I was taken out. Hopefully in five days, I'll be good to go."
Garver struck early against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, launching a three-run blast to left in the second inning, after John Forsythe was hit by a pitch and Jake Cave singled. It was the sixth homer of the year for the 27-year-old backstop, who is hitting .298 with two homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs in 14 games since the All-Star break.
"It was mislocation," Garver said. "I was looking out over the plate. He threw me that first-pitch changeup and he hadn't thrown me a changeup all year. I was a little surprised by that. But I was looking fastball over and he missed location and I made him pay."
Rosario, 26, collected four hits against Carrasco, including a double in the seventh that knocked Carrasco from the game. But Rosario never scored, as the Twins went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
After Mejia departed, the Twins turned to rookie lefty Gabriel Moya, who threw a scoreless sixth, getting through the top of Cleveland's order. The 23-year-old has a 3.12 ERA over his last eight appearances, dating back to July 1.
The Indians didn't score until the eighth, when Francisco Lindor hit a solo homer off Trevor Hildenberger. Hildenberger gave up a second run on a deep sacrifice fly to Leonys Martin, but the second-year setup man got out of the inning with a strikeout of Yonder Alonso.
Closer Fernando Rodney, one of a few veterans left after the non-waiver Trade Deadline because the Twins hold a $4.5 million team option for next year, threw a scoreless ninth to get his 25th save of the year. The Indians had the tying run at second after a passed ball, but Rodney struck out Lindor looking to end the game.
"I thought the missed opportunities were going to make it at least somewhat exciting at the end," Molitor said. "But we were able to hold it down. It was a good response to last night."
Rosario is hitting .378 (28-for-74) at Progressive Field since the start of the 2016 season, which is the highest batting average of any player at the ballpark in that span.
HE SAID IT
"He's throwing a lot of strikes, and I think that's really helping him. He's pounding the zone with his fastball and his changeup is really improving. And I think both his breaking balls are also getting better. It's something we have been utilizing a lot. Just making his fastball better when he's throwing his offspeed for strikes." -- Garver, on Mejia
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.60 ERA) will start for the Twins in the third game of the series on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Odorizzi should be fresh, as his last start was shortened by rain. He gave up two runs over 3 1/3 innings against the Royals before the delay. The Indians will start right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.48 ERA).
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.