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Twins 3, Rays 2: Willi Castro’s homer propels Twins to victory

Willi Castro’s go ahead 2-run homer was the spark the Twins needed to win the game, reducing their magic number to 10.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Edouard Julien put the Twins on the board first with a solo homer to left field in the 3rd, giving the starter Joe Ryan a 1-0 lead to work with.

It didn’t take long for the Rays to answer, however. With Brandon Lowe on 2nd, Josh Lowe singled off the glove of Carlos Correa, allowing Josh to score and tie the game at 1 a-piece. They are not related, if you were wondering.

In the top of the 5th, Rene Pinto hit a solo homer to left to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Yandy Diaz grounded to Joe Ryan, who fielded the ball off of his hand. He would ultimately stay in the game, but walked Brandon Lowe and then allowed a single to Randy Arozarena.

That prompted a pitching change, with Louie Varland entering the game in a big spot. With runners on first and second with two outs, he was able to get Josh Lowe to fly out to end the inning. Varland then struck out the side in the 6th, and follow that up with a scoreless top of the 7th.

Up until this point, the Twins bats were looking lifeless against former Twin Zack Littell, with only 1 run and 2 hits on him through 6 innings. However, after Max Kepler singled to right, Willi Castro turned the game on its head with a 2-run blast over the scoreboard in right-center, giving the Twins a 3-2 lead.

From there, Caleb Thielbar tossed a clean 8th inning, striking out Arozarena on a nasty curveball. Jhoan Duran got the last three outs in the 9th, giving the Twins a satisfying win. That puts their magic number to win the division down to 10.


Willi Castro: 1-3, game winning 2-run homer

Louie Varland: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K. Varland’s performance in the 5th-7th innings was key to their victory tonight.

Edouard Julien: 1-3, HR, BB