Celebrating his 30th birthday on Saturday, Ramírez launched a first-inning solo homer in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against pennant-rivals the Minnesota Twins.
"To: José Ramírez...From: José Ramírez...Happy birthday, buddy. #ForTheLand" - Cleveland Guardians
It was Ramírez's 28th home run of the year, and the 191st of his career - the 11th most in franchise history. He has homered on his birthday three times now, a feat he shares with Jim Thome, Carlos Santana and Rocky Colavito.
"José Ramírez now has 3 career home runs on his birthday, tied for most in franchise history, with: Carlos Santana, Jim Thome, Rocky Colavito. Birthdays are important." - Sarah Langs
While Ramírez did the heavy-lifting with his bat, starter Shane Bieber (11-8) took care of things on the mound.
Bieber was rock solid from start to finish. He conceded only one run - a solo homer by Matt Wallner - in the top of the eighth.
The 2020 AL Cy Young winner allowed only four hits in total and walked none for the ninth time in 28 outings.
Reflecting on his performance after the game, Bieber said (via MLB.com):
“I’ve got to commend the entire offense because when they get us an early lead, it makes it a lot easier for the pitching staff and the defense. I found myself in cruise control in the middle innings. All in all, it was a good start to the doubleheader.”
Amed Rosario’s RBI single doubled the advantage in the third before Owen Miller’s two-run single gave the Guardians breathing space. Rosario added another single in the sixth. The final scoreline read 5-1 in the Guardians' favor.
Cleveland Guardians are starting to pull away in the race for AL Central
The three-way tussle for the American League Central title remains far from settled. However, the Cleveland Guardians are slowly starting to pull away with less than three weeks remaining, while the Twins drift further from contention.
The Guardians went on to sweep the doubleheader by winning their second game against the Twins 7-6.
"Couldn’t end a double header better than this. The Cleveland Guardians sweep the Twin Bill and are inching closer towards claiming the AL Central" - Starting 9
As things stand, the White Sox are 4.5 games behind in second place. The Twins, on the other hand, have now fallen seven games behind, which realistically puts an end to their AL Central-winning dreams.
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