After Cal Quantrill’s last start against the Twins, which came last week, acting Twins manager Bill Evers had a suggestion for the Cleveland starter.
“All he should be worried about is getting us out and keep his mouth closed and things take care of themselves,” Evers said at the time.
Quantrill had evidently been upset earlier in the game after Josh Donaldson swung at a 3-0 pitch and had made his displeasure known, which drew attention from Miguel Sanó.
There was no carryover drama on Wednesday night at Target Field, with Quantrill instead focusing all his attention on shutting down the Twins, which he did quite effectively for most of his start in a 12-3 Cleveland win in the series finale.
“He had all of his pitches going. He’s got some pitchability to him, but he also has some pretty good stuff,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s a good mix and match of a lot of different things. His changeup is a good weapon for him. I think he commanded all of his pitches very well.”
Quantrill, who gave up just one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings against the Twins (64-83) last Thursday, was nearly untouchable in his first six innings Wednesday, allowing just one baserunner in that span.
That one hit was a Sanó double in the second inning. The next batter to reach base wouldn’t come until the seventh inning, when Byron Buxton drew a walk. The Twins eventually forced Quantrill out of the game in the seventh after he walked Max Kepler, allowed a three-run blast to Sanó and then walked Nick Gordon.
All three runs were unearned after a missed catch error by first baseman Bobby Bradley on a foul ball during Kepler’s plate appearance that would have ended the inning. But though the Twins made Quantrill pay for that error in the seventh, they could do little else against him. By the time the Twins broke through, they were trailing by 10 runs.
Twins starter Griffin Jax gave up five runs, though two were unearned.
An Oscar Mercado three-run home run in the fifth inning, which was part of a four-run inning, helped break the game open. It came after Austin Hedges hit a liner at 110 miles per hour off the bat toward Luis Arraez at third that he couldn’t nab and a Sanó error.
“At the end of the day, it’s my job to get outs, and if I’m so reliant on the guys behind me, then I just need to put myself in a better spot there,” Jax said. “If I’m missing more bats, if I work around hitters a little better, I could say a lot of things could have gone differently.”
After Jax’s departure, rookie Jovani Moran gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings and Andrew Albers gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings as Cleveland bashed its way to a series win.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” Baldelli said. “We dug ourselves a hole tonight and we didn’t swing the bats enough to get out of it.”