Twins beat defending champion Rangers for third straight win

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It’s been a month to forget at the plate for Twins catcher Christian Vázquez, who snapped an 0-for-27 skid just a few days ago. The same goes for Alex Kirilloff, who entered the day hitting under .100 in May.

But on Friday, that duo helped the Twins defeat the reigning World Series champions, each driving in a run in Minnesota’s 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers in the series opener at Target Field.

Kirilloff showed off a pretty swing, hitting a long blast to right field in the fourth inning, a home run which provided the difference.

It came two innings after Twins hitters had rallied to tie the game up with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Vázquez’s double brought home the Twins’ first run of the night, and the very next  batter, Edouard Julien, grounded out to second, bringing home another run.

Vázquez went 2 for 4, marking his first multi-hit game of the month, though his trip around the bases resulted in him easily getting thrown out at home after he blew past third base coach Tommy Watkins’ late stop sign.

That put an end to a good scoring chance, but because of a stout effort from Twins pitchers, they were able to hold strong with their slim one-run advantage.

The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Twins: Starter Bailey Ober walked leadoff Marcus Semien and allowed a home run to Corey Seager, but he worked through a turbulent first and second innings and then settled down.

Though his 30-pitch first inning ratcheted up his pitch count quickly, Ober threw five innings. The final hit he gave up, a single to Josh Smith in the fifth inning, was the only hit Twins pitchers gave up from the third inning onward.

Steven Okert, Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax each threw a scoreless inning before Jhoan Duran rebounded with one of his own, a welcomed sign after the Twins closer surrendered three home runs on the latest road trip.

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