CLEVELAND — Amed Rosario hit an early homer and struck in the 11th inning in the winning run for his third hit of the game as the Cleveland Guardians beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 on Monday night.
Rosario hit a line drive past a diving Christian Walker at first base and into right field to score third-place rookie Will Benson and set off a celebration from behind the hill.
The Guardians are just a game behind first-placed Minnesota in AL Central, despite being the youngest team in baseball.
“I’m not sure if they check your age when you’re in the batter’s box in the 10th inning,” manager Terry Francona said.
Rosario, who started a two-run homer in the third, lined a 1-0 pitch from Mark Melancon (3-10), the Diamondbacks’ 10th pitcher. Benson started the inning as an automatic runner in second place and advanced to third place with Austin Hedges’ bunt.
Steven Kwan walked and stole second, but Myles Straw landed before Rosario gave Cleveland his fifth walk-off win of the season.
Rosario said there’s a sense of excitement in Cleveland’s dugout late in tight games.
“You’re always going to have that vibe with that energy,” he said through a translator. “It’s easier to play with that energy.”
Arizona moved up to third with an out in the 11th, but Sam Hentges (3-2) put Jake McCarthy back in an alley and hitter Buddy Kennedy knocked out.
The Diamondbacks pushed on the go-ahead run in the 10th when Ketel Marte hit into a double play, but Andrés Giménez equalized with an RBI single — his fourth hit, which came with a career-high three stolen bases.
The ball flew out of progressive field early on an 84-degree night. Daulton Varsho’s solo home run put Arizona ahead in the second, but Owen Miller’s two-run shot gave Cleveland the lead at the bottom of the inning.
Rosario hit a two-run homer in the third homer, but Walker’s three-run drive in the fourth in front of Cal Quantrill erased a 4-1 deficit.
Zach Davies allowed both Cleveland homers in his first start since June 25. The right-hander was on the injured list with a shoulder infection and was activated before the game. Davies was pulled in the third after Rosario’s homer and was burdened with four runs.
Quantrill allowed four runs in six innings.
Kwan had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 15 games in his rookie season.
Arizona release Kevin Ginkel, selected by Triple-A Reno on Monday, hit the side in the fourth and missed a spotless inning by one spot. Nolan Jones and Hedges each hit three spots. Straw fouled a 0-2 pitch before going for a called strike three.
Guardians-designated hitter Franmil Reyes, facing a seasonal crisis, cleaned out his locker after the game. Reyes still has two minor league options and has been mentioned in trade talks.
Reyes started the season as a cleanup hitter but hits .213 with nine homers and 28 RBI. Cleveland outfielder Oscar Gonzalez has been out since June 30 with a right intermediate rib strain and is expected to return soon.
HE IS BACK
Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor returned after missing two games due to numbness in his surgically repaired right ankle. He tested his ankle and was cleared by the team’s medical staff for action on Monday. Naylor also struggles with back pain.
“He went out and ran and did everything,” Francona said. “I told him, ‘I want you to play, you have to be OK.’ So they did well.”
Benson was waiting in line at a restaurant in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday when he received a call saying he was being promoted to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus.
“I went to Taco Bell because my girl wanted Taco Bell,” Benson said. “But it all worked out perfectly because the Taco Bell was very close to the Hotel Omni where my parents were staying, so I could drive back and tell my parents. it was crazy We literally went nuts in the valet just jumping around screaming.”
Benson made his major league debut at right field in the ninth inning.
Diamondbacks: LHP Caleb Smith was put on the 15-day injured list with a fracture in his non-throwing hand. The injury came after he was removed from Saturday’s game against Atlanta. “Caleb broke his hand hitting something he shouldn’t have,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
Guardians: Miller was removed from Saturday’s game after being hit in the right elbow by a pitch and not playing on Sunday.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zac Gallen (5-2, 3.24 ERA) will make his career debut in Tuesday night’s second game of the series against Cleveland. He has allowed three earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in his last three starts.
Guard: RHP Triston McKenzie (7-7, 3.24 ERA) gave up a three-run homer to Xander Bogaerts in a loss to the Red Sox on Thursday.