Kepler’s single gives Twins walk-off win over Athletics
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Max Kepler drove in four runs, including the game-winner to cap a two-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Sunday.
Ehire Adrianza’s third hit of the game was a triple off Liam Hendriks (2-1) that scored Luis Arraez from first base with one out in the ninth. After Hendriks struck out Jason Castro, Kepler lined the first pitch into left-center for his third hit.
Hendriks had picked up saves in each of the last two games and hadn’t allowed an earned run in 20 2/3 innings.
Reliever Kohl Stewart (2-1) earned the win after pitching a scoreless ninth. The Twins stranded 12 runners through the first eight innings and blew an early 4-0 lead before coming back to earn a split of their four-game series with Oakland.
Kepler and Jorge Polanco hit back-to-back doubles to start the first inning, but A’s starter Daniel Mengden was able to limit the damage, leaving runners on the corners. He wasn’t as successful in the second inning.
With one out, Adrianza doubled and Jason Castro walked. Then Kepler lined the first pitch he saw into the right-field seats for his 24th home run of the season and a 4-0 Minnesota lead.
The A’s bounced back in the fifth behind the bottom of their order. With one out, Twins starter Micheale Pineda walked Jurickson Profar before No. 9 hitter Josh Phegley hit his 10th homer of the season to cut Minnesota’s lead in half.
The Twins got that run back in the bottom of the fifth but missed a golden opportunity to do even more damage. With a run already in, the Twins loaded the bases with nobody out. But Kepler hit into a first-to-home double play and Polanco lined out to third to end the threat.
Oakland eventually took the lead with two runs off reliever Trevor May in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Chris Hermann’s RBI double tied the game, and Phegley hit a sacrifice fly to put the A’s on top 6-5.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton was eligible to come off the 7-day concussion IL on Sunday, but even though he participated in pregame drills on the field, the Twins did not activate him.
Athletics: RHP Homer Bailey (8-6, 4.69) will make his second start for Oakland when the A’s face the Astros in Houston on Monday. Bailey, who was acquired in a July 14 trade with the Royals, allowed two earned runs over six innings to pick up the win over Seattle in his A’s debut on July 17.
Twins: Minnesota will send LHP Martin Perez (8-3, 4.10) to the mound on Monday to open a three-game series with the Yankees at Target Field. Perez has thrown at least six innings in each of his last three starts, all at home.
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