MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins salvaged some badly needed momentum, entering a last-ditch five-game series at first-place Cleveland this weekend.
Their pitching lately looks up to the task.
Carlos Correa’s solo home run in the first inning and Nick Gordon’s two-run shot in the second gave the Twins enough to hang on for a 3-2 victory to finish a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night and gain ground in the AL Central race.
“Our guys know what’s at stake, and our guys know what time of the year it is,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “This is what we do all this work for.”
The Twins (72-70) pulled within four games of the Guardians (76-66), who had their six-game winning streak stopped with an 8-2 loss to Chicago in the afternoon. The White Sox (74-70) are in second place, three games out.
“I’m excited because I know it’s important for us,” reliever Jhoan Duran said through a translator. “That’s the season right there.”
Trevor Megill (4-3), who threw the first of five scoreless innings by five Twins relievers, picked up the victory with a perfect fifth. Duran got his seventh save in as many attempts with a tense ninth, retiring his last three batters on a sacrifice bunt and two strikeouts after the first two men reached.
“Anybody can step up in any given moment. Nobody quite has a role, but we’re always ready whenever Rocco calls upon us,” said Michael Fulmer, who pitched a perfect eighth.
After losing nine of 11, including a three-game sweep here last weekend by division-leading Cleveland, the Twins snapped to life against the ready-for-next-year Royals. This was their second sweep of Kansas City in four weeks. Minnesota has a 12-4 advantage in the season series, with three games remaining on the road against the Royals next week.