Things did not go well for the Cleveland Guardians on Monday, but David Fry made history at Progressive Field.
The catcher and utilityman threw four innings in the Guardians’ blowout 20-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins, which made him the first true position player since 1988 to pitch four innings in a game. Jose Oquendo was the last position player to pitch more than three innings that season for the St. Louis Cardinals, though he took the mound in a marathon 19-inning game, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Fry allowed seven runs and 10 hits during his stint on the mound. All 64 of his pitches were slower than 60 mph, which set another Major League Baseball record. No pitcher in the pitch tracking era had ever thrown more than 30 such pitches in a single game.
No pitcher in the entire pitch tracking era had ever thrown 30 pitches under 60 MPH in one MLB game then David Fry threw 64 today. pic.twitter.com/2ygBhSXI6d
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) September 5, 2023
The Twins rocked Guardians starter Lucas Giolito, who lasted just three innings on the mound before he was pulled. Jorge Polanco hit a solo home run in the first to get Minnesota on the board, and Royce Lewis hit a grand slam in the second — which suddenly put the Twins up 6-0. They added three more runs in the third before Giolito was pulled. By then, the game was well out of reach for Cleveland.
Giolito, whom the Guardians claimed off waivers last week, now holds a 7-12 record and has a 4.88 ERA this season with three teams. He allowed seven hits and had three strikeouts in 76 pitches Monday in his debut for Cleveland.
Fry, a 27-year-old rookie, is hitting .250 and has four home runs and 13 RBI this season in Cleveland. He has played catcher, first base, third base and in the outfield this season.
“I told him I didn’t like leaving him out there as long as I did, but I just didn’t know how we were going to get through the game,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said, via Bally Sports. “One of my fears was we were going to score a couple, and it’s under eight, and we can’t finish the game without hurting somebody … I don’t care who you are, nobody wants to go out and get their brains beat out.
"But he's strong enough mentally to just not overdo it, and he won't hurt himself. And now, hopefully, we have a chance to win tomorrow, and if we do, he sucked up a bunch of innings for us."
Minnesota starter Pablo López pitched six innings in the win. He had three strikeouts and allowed just a single run. The Twins added four runs in the sixth inning and picked up five in the seventh off of Joey Gallo and Kyle Farmer home runs.
The Twins, who have won seven of their past 11 games, hold a six-game lead in the AL Central over the Guardians. Cleveland sits 10.5 games back from the last AL wild-card spot. The Guardians have two more games against the Twins this series before they head to Los Angeles for a four-game run against the Angels.