CLEVELAND — Sonny Gray on Monday let himself feel the full range of emotions. She vented those feelings and then turned them into one of her best starts of the season. And later, he had a long hug in the first base dugout with pitching coach Wes Johnson, a man with whom he has become close over the past few months.
A day after news broke that Johnson was leaving to take on the job of pitching coach at Louisiana State University, Gray went out and led the Twins to an 11-1 victory with seven scoreless innings against the Guardians at Progressive Field on Monday night .
“Today I got so angry at him. I was so happy for him today,” said Gray. “I used every emotion and everything that was going through that and used it to put it in the game.”
Gray joined the Twins (42-33) in a post-lockdown trade with the Cincinnati Reds in March and immediately, Johnson welcomed him with open arms. It was his personality, Gray said. Beyond baseball, Gray described Johnson as the type of person that “you just enjoy being around.”
And now, after Thursday, he no longer will.
“It’s a tough one,” Gray said. “It’s someone I’ve become really close with. If you know me at all, by seeing people approach that and get into relationships, I’ve stepped up my guard a lot. Wes is the one who was in.” “
And that’s what makes her impending departure so difficult for Grey.
But if there was any concern that Johnson’s impending departure would create a distraction within the clubhouse – and the Twins said they didn’t believe it before the game – it certainly wouldn’t appear that way for Gray or anyone else on Monday. happened.
“Can it be assumed that he had a hard time with what is happening here in the last 24 hours? Maybe,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Grey. Had a different aura the way he was walking today, and you don’t know what that will mean once the game starts. But apparently, this was not in her way of going out and doing her job very well. ,
Grey, who conceded four runs (three earned) for eight hits in four innings against the Guardians (36-33), who was dismissed last time, said he changed his approach this time around.
Simply put: “It was less this time, just come in and just attack,” Gray said.
And he did this for seven innings. Cleveland smashed just three hits against them in their effort, which was especially important as the doubleheader The Twins is coming up on Tuesday. Due to his debut, the twins were only able to use one reliever – Jharrel Cotton – on Monday, helping to save the bullpen for their further 18 innings.
Gray’s start was supported by three-hit efforts from Alex Kiriloff, Gio Ursella and Gary Sanchez, whose three-run home run in left field in the third innings got the Twins on the board.
The twins continued to play all night, scoring a pair of runs in four more innings. In addition to Sanchez, both Nick Gordon and Carlos Correa scored home runs in the win. Correa – with several twin starts – was picked up late in the game. He was replaced in the lineup by rookie Mark Contreras, who would go on to score his first career hit in the ninth inning.
“We played a great game on an interesting day, a challenging day, an emotional day,” Baldelli said. “…he feels that our clubhouse was quiet all day long and the people were really very normal and having a nice day and preparing for a game. I was happy with what I saw before the game And even more happy with what I saw during the game.”