For the first 5.2 innings of Friday's contest Peyton Battenfield was special. The Cleveland Guardians pitcher was perfect up to that point, locked in as locked in can be. A few impressive fielding plays early in the contest and it just felt like the impossible may be possible. Those incredible and somewhat odd-looking plays that were typical in a perfect game were happening and it seemed like for just a moment that the last perfect game/no-hitter in Cleveland baseball history was about to have a more recent date.
But it was not to be and Len Barker's perfecto just under 42 years to the day remains as the last Cleveland perfect game/no-hitter.
There are two pitches in the 6th inning that Battenfield definitely wants back. First is the middle-middle fastball that Christian Vazquez lined into left field on the first pitch of his second at-bat to give the Twins their base-runner of the game. Second is a cutter that caught too much of the plate that Max Kepler hit over the fence in right center to give Minnesota a two-run lead they would not relinquish.
The impressive righty would return to the mound the following inning to get three more outs and finish his impressive night on the bump. Battenfield would finish with just the two runs allowed on two hits with seven strikeouts in 7 innings. Pretty impressive work for what is just his fourth career start and fifth appearance overall. This was easily his best start up to this point and the first since his debut that he did not walk a batter. A performance like this is everything that the decision makers in Cleveland could have hoped for when they made the decision to start Battenfield Friday and send Zach Plesac to Columbus.
Despite all of the good work on the mound, Peyton Battenfield is still working on getting that ever elusive first win.
Based off the pitching performance, the Guardians should have been in position to win this game. Unfortunately the bats were nowhere to be found, as the offense only managed three hits and two walks in the 2-0 loss. This is the fourth time in the last six series that the Guardians have lost the first game of a series. Cleveland is going to have to put it together over the next two games if they are going to avoid losing a sixth consecutive series and close the gap in the standings between themselves and the division leading Twins.