Shane Bieber sizzles, Amed Rosario and Oscar Gonzalez smash in Guardians’ 7-4 win against D-Backs


CLEVELAND, Ohio — Shane Bieber provided the sizzle while Amed Rosario and Oscar Gonzalez supplied some smash for the Guardians on Wednesday in a 7-4 victory against Arizona at Progressive Field.

Rosario’s 450-foot blast off Arizona rookie left-hander Tommy Henry in the fifth inning gave Cleveland a four-run lead. Gonzalez added a 402-foot shot in the sixth after the D-Backs cut Cleveland’s advantage in half. Bieber (6-6, 3.39) backed up a brilliant outing Friday in Tampa with six strong innings, fanning eight Diamondbacks batters and scattering four hits in six innings.

The win allowed the Guardians to keep pace in the American League Central, a game behind first-place Minnesota, which knocked off Detroit earlier in the day. Cleveland has won three consecutive series against National League opponents and has taken six of its last eight matchups against Arizona at Progressive Field.

Austin Hedges opened the fifth with a walk and moved to second on Steven Kwan’s base hit before Rosario smoked a slider from Henry over the wall in dead center field for his sixth home run.

Rosario’s home run was longest of the season by any batter at Progressive Field this year, surpassing Alex Verdugo’s 447-foot homer on June 25. Rosario has hit safely in 20 of his last 24 games and is slashing .350/.375/.530 in that stretch. He ended the game with 118 hits, tied for the American League lead with Chicago’s Jose Abreu.

Manager Terry Francona said Rosario’s ability to stay on balance has helped him begin to drive the ball to center and left field.

“Part of the reason he’s become more dangerous is because he does hit the ball the other way, so he stays on balance,” Francona said. “It keeps him from chasing the ball too far in. He hit that ball … that was big boy territory there.”

Kwan’s single extended his hitting streak to 17, marking the longest for a Cleveland batter since Michael Brantley’s 19-game stretch in 2018.

Gonzalez, playing just his second game after returning from a 30-day stint on the injured list, smashed a 402-foot home run on the second pitch he saw from D-Backs reliever Kevin Ginkel in the sixth. It was Gonzalez’s third home run and first extra-base hit since returning to Cleveland’s lineup.

Rosario added a double off the wall and scored on a José Ramírez RBI single in the seventh. It marked Rosario’s 14th multi-hit game since July 2.

Cleveland broke through against Henry (0-1, 7.20), who was making his major league debut, in the second when Andrés Giménez was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a base hit by Hedges . Myles Straw brought Giménez home with an RBI sacrifice fly to right.

It was the 11th time Giménez has been hit by a pitch in 43 games since June 16.

Bieber, meanwhile, cruised through three hitless innings before surrendering a one-out Alek Thomas double in the fourth, but struck out three of the next six batters he faced.

He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out eight over six innings without a walk. Bieber’s only mistake was a 1-1 cutter that got too much of the plate to Thomas in the sixth. Thomas turned the pitch around for a two-run home run to right, his eighth of the season.

Cleveland has won each of Bieber’s last 11 interleague starts, and the right-hander is 8-0 in those games with a 2.66 ERA in 71 innings. After the game, Francona said Bieber’s pregame warmup wasn’t particularly good, but once the game started, he found his focus.

“When you give a good pitcher some competition it kind of locks you in with a hitter in there,” Francona said. “I thought he was really good.”

Bieber said coming off last week’s outing in Tampa where he limited the Rays to a run in seven innings, he feels like he’s starting to find a groove.

“I’m starting to figure it out,” Bieber said. “I’ve just been working on a lot of different things, and that’s a new challenge for me to have to do that in the middle of a major league baseball season. But it’s something that I’m trying to embrace and enjoy and continue to just get better, and to get to where I know I can be and where I want to be.”

Gonzalez, who singled in his first game back on Tuesday, added an RBI double in the seventh that hit high off the wall in left and just missed becoming his second home run of the game. Ramirez scored on the play to give the Guardians a five-run lead.

Rookie Tyler Freeman became the 12th Guardians player to make his major league debut, starting at third base. Freeman walked in his first plate appearance and singled to right in the sixth for his first hit.

“I got goosebumps right away,” Freeman said of standing on first base after his hit. “It was surreal, especially on the video board, seeing my family and everyone standing up. Little emotional, but it was awesome. My family being here means the world to me.”

James Karinchak, Trevor Stephan worked scoreless innings in relief of Bieber. Eli Morgan allowed a two-run home run to Geraldo Perdomo with two out in the ninth. It was Perdomo’s fourth home run and the seventh allowed by Morgan in 33 outings this season.

Next: The Guardians welcome the Houston Astros to Progressive Field for a four-game series beginning Thursday at 7:10 pm Right-hander Zach Plesac (2-9, 4.33) will face Astros righty Justin Verlander (14-3, 1.81) in the opener. The game will air on Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM and the Guardians Radio Network.

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