The battle for the Ohio Cup began Tuesday, and the Cleveland Guardians are one step closer to retaining it for another year. Cleveland took the first game at Great American Ball Park, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 3-0.
Cleveland jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 1st inning thanks to some timely hitting. Kole Calhoun was able to drive in Steven Kwan and Jose Ramirez on an RBI single to give the Guardians a lead they would not relinquish. The 7th inning saw Cleveland increase their lead to 3. A Myles Straw single, followed by a steal of second base allowed Steven Kwan to drive him in on the seventh pitch of his lengthy at-bat.
Propelling the Guardians' effort in the contest was the pitching of Logan Allen, keeping the Reds in check over 6 innings. Allen threw 6 shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven and walking three. The closest Cincinnati came to scoring was in Allen's final frame. A leadoff walk to Matt McClain, followed by an infield single from Elly De La Cruz, put the Reds in position to score. But it was Allen, showing composure well beyond his years, regrouping by getting Spencer Steer to hit into a double-play followed by striking out Henry Ramos to strand McClain at third.
The bullpen took over for the final three frames. Enyel De Los Santos struck out three of four batters faced, while Trevor Stephan needed just 12 pitches to finish off the 8th. Emmanuel Clase came in to close the game in the 9th inning. After a leadoff single to Steer, Clase would get the next three batters out to preserve the win. This was an encouraging outing from Clase, considering how poorly his last appearance went.
Cleveland's win puts them at 58-62 on the season. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Twins were also victorious Tuesday with a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers, and the Guardians' 4.5 game deficit remains.