Needing a win to stave off the White Sox and hopefully get back to within one game of the Twins, Cal Quantrill delivered a great pitching performance and Amed Rosario had two big RBI to lead the Guardians to a much needed 4-1 victory over the Astros, with a chance to split the series on Sunday.

Guardians (55-52) 4 – Astros (70-39) 1. WP: Cal Quantrill (8-5), LP: Luis Garcia (8-8)

Quantrill’s strong performance

After a very good pitching performance against the Astros, but ultimately ended up being a loss on May 22, Cal Quantrill made sure to leave no doubt that he’d be the winning pitcher with easily his best performance of the season. The Guardians needed a win after both the Twins and White Sox had victories last night, and that’s just what Quantrill gave them. Making his third career start against Houston, Quantrill went to his Sinker a lot straight from the first pitch of the ballgame, 60% of the time in fact. It was averaging 94 miles per hour on the afternoon, higher than his yearly average of 93.3. Quantrill went to his cutter 24 times, or 28 percent while mixing in five changeups and five curveballs as well. Quantrill only struck out four on the afternoon but held a very good Astros lineup to just three hits, with Jake Meyers having two of them.

“I thought he was really good,” Manager Terry Francona said of Quantrill. “He was really fighting. He’s had some tougher starts and I didn’t want to leave him in there against Vazquez. I thought to myself that’s good enough.”

After striking out Yordan Alvarez in the sixth inning, Quantrill was very, very fired up as the crowd of 25,327 roared with excitement, something that they were doing a lot. Only time they weren’t was when they were booing Jose Altuve, which has sort of become an unwritten MLB tradition at this point.

“It’s all about making smarter decisions on the mound,” Quantrill said. “I think over the last month, I’ve taught myself in those big moments that sort of decide a game, to really gather myself and pick the pitches I want.”

The vets came to play

In a lineup that featured three rookies hitting back-to-back 4-5-6, it was the Guardians veterans that lead the charge, if you could call them Veterans since the team is the youngest in not only the MLB, but younger than any Triple-A team as well. One veteran who is always going to be leading and making the difference is obviously José Ramírez, as J-Ram did what J-Ram does early on. With Amed Rosario on, Ramírez  knocked one into right field, and then did his signature aggressive base running  and forced the Astros to focus on him rather than Rosario, allowing the run to score and Ramírez to of course get into 2nd base with a double, his 496th extra base hit of his career, which passes Lou Boudreau for 8th in franchise history in extra base hits.

“Amed was going hard, Sarbaugh seeing that and kept him coming,” Francona said. “Amed getting down the line and Josey’s hustle got us a run.”

In the next inning, with two outs and nobody on, the Vets took over. Austin Hedges drew a walk, followed by a single by Myles Straw. Being the leadoff man with Steven Kwan out, Andrés Giménez grounded to shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who wildly overthrew first baseman Yuli Gurriell and allowed Hedges to cross home to make it 2-0. Next, Rosario singled into right center and brought home both Straw and Giménez to give the Guardians a 4-0 lead, giving them more runs in the first two innings than they did the previous two games of this series.

Amed Rosario also made some huge plays defensively in the field, ranging from 6-3 double play to a very impressive putout later in the game. Rosario says something like that is always about preparation.

“It’s all about preparation,” said Rosario. “Just preparing normally when it’s the season allows you to show results.”

His jersey night = his night

It was a big promotional event Saturday night in Cleveland as the first 10,000 fans who entered the ballpark got their own white Myles Straw Guardians jersey, and Straw delivered on his night with two base hits, including one that ended up being key in their three run second inning as they were able to get two men on and allow the next at-bat to result in a run. Playing against his former team, Straw made sure that his new team would be on the winning end by getting on base and being one of the runs that was able to score in route to a four-run offensive performance. No word yet on if he got one of the promotional jerseys.

It was big to get a win against these guys,” Straw said. “They’re one of the best teams in the league, and we played really well tonight.”

Guardians got a favorable pitching matchup

The Guardians knew going into this game, that since the Twins and White Sox both won last night, they were now tied for second in the division and two games back of the division lead. However, this was the first game in this series where they knew they had the better starting pitcher and if there was a starter they could jump on early, it was Luis Garcia. They did just that getting four runs in the first two innings, which ended up being huge, especially against a team like the Astros.

The Guardians have a chance to split the series Sunday afternoon, which would be huge as they start their seven-game road trip right after with four games in Detroit and three in Toronto.

“Yes, and off of a really good pitcher,” Francona said about scoring runs early. “We were able to run the bases because of that.”

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