May 30, 2023

Here comes the rooster: Lewis, Jeffers rally Twins to 7-5 win

Infielder Royce Lewis, the Twins’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft and 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.

The Hahn/Cock sculpture, Walker Art Center, downtown Minneapolis.

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 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 sounded 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.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.