Playoff-bound Twins hit 3 homers in 7-6 victory over Rockies

Baseball player in pinstriped jersey swings bat
Minnesota Twins' Max Kepler follows the flight of his RBI sacrifice fly off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tyler Kinley in the ninth inning of Friday night's game in Denver.
David Zalubowski | AP

Ryan Jeffers had three hits, including one of three Minnesota home runs, and Michael A. Taylor homered and tripled to help the playoff-bound Twins beat the Colorado Rockies 7-6 on Friday night.

Trevor Larnach homered, Kody Funderbuck (2-0) got the win in relief and Emilio Pagán picked up his first save for Minnesota.

The Twins wrapped up their third AL Central title in five years with an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. They are locked into the No. 3 seed and will open the best-of-three, wild-card series Tuesday at home against an opponent yet to be determined.

They gained momentum with a come-from-behind win in Colorado.

Larnach and Jeffers hit back-to-back homers in the seventh to tie it at 6. Jeffers and Kyle Farmer led off the ninth with singles off of Tyler Kinley (0-4), and Max Kepler’s sacrifice fly brought home Andrew Stevenson with the go-ahead run.

The lead flipped three times in the final five innings.

“There’s no other place in the big leagues really that you’re going to see an environment like this,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Your pitches are not going to act normal.”

Alan Trejo, Brendan Rodgers and Elehuris Montero homered for Colorado., Nolan Jones had three hits and Charlie Blackmon had two hits on the day he signed a deal to remain with the Rockies for another year.

Blackmon’s six-year, $108 million contract ends Sunday but he and Colorado agreed to one-year deal for the 2024 season that prevents him from becoming a free agent. A four-time All-Star, Blackmon has spent his entire 13-season big league career with Colorado. Only Todd Helton at 17 seasons played longer for the Rockies.

“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to come back next year,” Blackmon said. “I don’t really think I could have pictured it any other way, any other place, so I’m thrilled to have that opportunity.”

Batting leadoff, he singled in his first two at-bats but struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Taylor’s 468-foot, two-run homer in the second inning helped Minnesota build a 3-0 lead against starter Ty Blach. Montero’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning got Colorado on the boar, Jones had an RBI single in the third and Trejo’s blast off of Joe Ryan in the fourth put the Rockies ahead 5-4.

Ryan, who is an option for the postseason rotation, fell three strikeouts shy of 200 for the season.

“That was that was pretty much the goal today,” Ryan said. “I feel like I can be a little selfish with that with where we’re at. Had the opportunities and I think with a normal fastball probably would have gotten there.

“Physically it felt great and that’s awesome. That was that was probably the best part.”

Rodgers led off the fifth with his fourth home run.

Minnesota second baseman Jorge Polanco was taken out of the game in the sixth inning with right ankle soreness as a precaution, Baldelli said.

“We took him out of the game as soon as he was brining it up to the trainers and coaches,” Baldelli said. “He’s not playing (Saturday), we’ll see how he comes back and hopefully by Tuesday it won’t be an issue.”

Up next

The Twins and Rockies both plan on going with a bullpen day Saturday night. Pagán (5-2, 3.03) will open for Minnesota while Colorado has not announced who will start.