Three Homers Help Guardians Rally past Cubs

Three Homers Help Guardians Rally past Cubs
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

GOODYEAR, AZ — Three solo home runs and a sixth inning with four singles helped rally the Cleveland Guardians past the Chicago Cubs, 5-3, Friday night.

Jose Ramirez, Josh Bell and Myles Straw went deep early. Then rookies Will Brennan and Meibrys Viloria had RBI singles to break a 3-3 tie.

Zach Plesac overcame a slow start to strike out six over five innings for Cleveland. The right-hander gave up three hits and two runs in the first. Then he kept his fastball low with good darting, sinking movement and allowed five hits and three runs overall.

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Trailing 2-0 in the first, Ramirez roped a fastball high and over the outside half of the plate for his second homer. Bell followed with his fourth. For the second night in a row the big slugger got a room-service fastball and devoured it.

Straw hit his first homer in more than a year. He turned on a high and inside fastball and lined it over the fence in left. Cleveland totaled 13 hits, one night after getting 14 in a 10-0 rout of the San Francisco Giants.

Four Guardians relievers combined for eight strikeouts over the final four innings. Rookie left-hander Tim Herrin, told earlier in the day he had made the opening day roster, struck out three in his one inning of relief.

Nice Job Guys, We Can Use You

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Manager Terry Francona told right-hander Hunter Gaddis and Herrin they will be on the roster when the Guardians open the season on the road against the Seattle Mariners.

Two other rookies, infielder Gabriel Arias and outfielder Brennan also got the good news. Both have played well all spring and that decision was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

With Sam Hentges rehabbing a sore shoulder, Herrin will be the only lefty on the opening-day staff. Gaddis will be a long reliever and spot starter if the situation arises.

Be Patient

Michael Kelly was re-assigned to the minor-league camp. He could opt out of his contract and try to sign elsewhere or accept the assignment and report to the AAA Columbus Clippers. Francona told reporters he liked what he saw from the 29-year-old and think he can eventually help.

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Gaddis was particularly impressive in five outings, including two starts. He struck out 17 and walked three with a 2.77 ERA. That’s a far cry from what the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder did in his big-league debut last summer. He was torched for five home runs by the Chicago White Sox.

Herrin claimed the spot vacated by Hentges — for now. In 10 outings, the 29th-round draft choice in 2018 has fanned 14 and walked two.

Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis both like Herrin’s sweeping slider and believe it can be even better. It was against the Cubs.

Why not join us?

The Guardians signed lefty Daniel Norris to a minor-league contract. The Cincinnati Reds released the 33-year-old veteran on Monday. He likely will be assigned to Columbus.

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Norris had a very poor spring. He gave up 12 hits and seven walks over 6 2/3 innings.

Injuries and control problems have played him throughout his career. Once a top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system, he and Matthew Boyd were the key parts of a three-for-one trade at the 2015 deadline that sent star left-hander David Price from the Detroit Tigers to Toronto.

Francona welcomed adding a lefty with big-league experience as both a starter and reliever. He noted that Norris is only age 29 and has had some success in the past.

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Chuck Murr

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