Kyle Farmer, the walk-off hero of the home opener, gave the Twins an early lead on Saturday and then Byron Buxton extended it to give the club a 9-6 win over the Houston Astros. The Twins go for the sweep on Sunday.
It first appeared that the Twins were going to blow out the Astros after Farmer hit a three-run blast and Trevor Larnach followed him with an RBI single to make it 4-0. But Twins starter Joe Ryan, who otherwise had a stellar afternoon, gave up a couple of hits, walked a batter and then had to face slugger Yordan Alvarez, the player who probably still gives M’s manager Scott Servais nightmares. He hit the next Ryan offering into the seats for a game-tying grand slam.
However, a couple of RBI hits from Twins catcher Christian Vazquez made it 6-4 and then Buxton hit a monster three-run shot of his own to seal the win. Twins reliever Jovani Moran got into a little trouble, but flame-throwing closer Jhoan Duran bailed him out with a game-ending strikeout.
The Twins are 6-2 and lead the AL Central by 1.5 games. Tyler Mahle gets the ball Sunday.
Extra innings …
-Buxton hit the moon shot on Saturday, but the Big Bopper was still Farmer, who went 3-for-4 with a double and home run, three runs scored and three RBI.
-Starter Ryan just missed making a quality start, but he still struck out 10 over six innings. He is now 2-0 on the season with a 3.75 ERA.
-The Twins struggled with runners in scoring position on Friday, but on Saturday they were a very efficient 5-for-9.
-Mind those pitch-timer violations. Astros slugger and former White Sox player Jose Abreu picked up two quick legitimate strikes, then took more than eight seconds getting ready for the next pitch, which will be called a strike this season.
In other words, Abreu had a two-strike at bat and then had to turn around and head back to the dugout. This new rule is bound to rear its head during the playoffs and World Series with ugly results. How would you like to see Game 7 of the World Series end on a pitch-timer violation?
-Lousy injury news: Max Kepler has been put on the 10-day injured list because of knee pain and Joey Gallo is day-to-day with right side soreness, according to MLB.com.