Infielder Royce Lewis, the Twins’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft, a player who has twice battled back from serious knee injuries, returned to the lineup on Monday and didn’t disappoint, hitting a three-run home run to start the scoring and a game-tying single to send the game to the 10th inning.
And then in the 10th inning, catcher Ryan Jeffers hit an absolute laser into the left field seats at Minute Maid Park to take the lead and ultimately beat the Houston Astros 7-5 in Game 1 of the three-game series.
In his return, Lewis went 2-for-5 at the plate, scored a run and drove in four more. Jeffers had three hits on Monday, scored and a run and drove in those two important runs in extra innings.
Although Jeffers won the game, the day belonged to Lewis, who returned to the field precisely a year after he last played for the Twins and injured his knee.
“I was actually on the mound when [Lewis’ second ACL tear] happened last year,” pitcher Sonny Gray told MLB.com. “I’m getting chills … to be back on the mound, too, while he comes back and for him to come out and just be Royce, it was a welcome sight. We got on the airplane yesterday, and he was there, smiling, just being Royce.”
Joe Ryan gets the ball Tuesday.
Extra innings …
-Lewis also had a hand in one of three double plays turned by the Twins in Monday’s win.
-Gray made a quality start, but did not figure in the decision. He exited the game with two men on, then reliever Brock Stewart allowed two hits, including a grand slam, that gave Houston a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. Both pitchers shared in the damage, each charged with two runs.
-The win went to closer Jhoan Duran, who struck out three over two innings. Listening to the game, it sounds like both Jovani Moran and Griffin Jax got up and started to get loose in the bullpen, but Twins manager Rocco Baldelli stuck with Duran. It was the right call.
-I’m not a real fan of the Twins’ road uniforms this season, but anything is better than what the Houston Astros were wearing on Monday.
The “Space City” blue and orange uniforms, with the orange and yellow socks (I think), should be blasted deep into outer space. The best uniforms in the game? The Twins’ home white duds that say “Twin Cities” across the front of the jersey. Now that’s a good look.