MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Byron Buxton had three hits, including an RBI triple for the second straight game, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Sunday to stretch their division lead ahead of a pivotal series against Cleveland.
Max Kepler added two hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who have a two-game lead in the AL Central race. They hit the road for five games in four days against the Guardians, who overtook the Twins this week only to lose four straight — including a sweep at home by Boston.
Joe Ryan (6-3) grinded through 102 pitches over five innings to record his first win in more than a month. The Twins gave him some help with a three-run first inning against Rockies starter Ryan Feltner (1-3). Kepler, Alex Kirilloff and Gio Urshela hit consecutive RBI singles.
The triple by Buxton, who also doubled, singled and scored three times, keyed a two-run second inning. He hit the ball into the gap in left center and did a head-first lunge into third base.
Buxton had been held out of the starting lineup for three straight games to rest his persistently sore and swollen right knee, but Saturday and Sunday showed why the team still counts on him to be a catalyst.
One of the fastest players in baseball, Buxton went almost three years without a triple until his pair of three-baggers this weekend. He also scored from first base on Kepler’s two-out double in the seventh down the left-field line to give the Twins some insurance.
WORKING HIS WAY BACK
Ryan, who leads all major league rookies in wins, has not yet rediscovered his form since contracting COVID-19. In three starts since returning from the virus, Ryan has logged 15 2/3 innings with 20 hits, 10 runs and four home runs allowed with only 11 strikeouts.
Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon took Ryan deep in the…