MINNEAPOLIS — Nick Gordon hit a third-inning home run that stood up for Minnesota starter Devin Smeltzer, and the Twins dodged a sweep, cooling off the Cleveland Guardians with a 1-0 win on Thursday.
Gordon, subbing for star Byron Buxton in center field, drove a 1-2 curveball from Zach Plesac (3-4) into the grass berm beyond the wall in center.
The Guardians failed to score against Minnesota's struggling bullpen after loading the bases with no outs in the seventh inning, getting a man to second base with one out in the eighth and putting a runner on second with one out in the ninth. Caleb Thielbar recorded his first save by striking out pinch-hitter Steven Kwan to end the game.
Cleveland lost for just the fifth time in its last 22 games. The Guardians (36-29) lead by percentage points in the AL Central race, having played six fewer games than the Twins (39-32). The two teams have a five-game series next week.
After blowing a 10-7 ninth-inning lead in an 11-10 loss on Wednesday and squandering a 5-3 eighth-inning edge in a 6-5 defeat on Tuesday, the Twins badly needed a pick-me-up from Smeltzer (4-1). The left-hander cruised through six innings, allowing only two singles and one double while striking out three.
Plesac completed six innings, with three hits and two walks allowed. He struck out six.
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