Twins rally to edge Royals, take three of four from AL Central rival

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Carlos Correa hit a bases-clearing triple in a four-run sixth inning as the Twins rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the Kansas City Royals, 7-6, on Thursday in front of an announced crowd of 22,542 at Target Field.

Ryan Jeffers hit a pair of home runs and drove in three for the Twins, who took three of four from the American League Central rivals. Minnesota has won seven of its past nine games and starts a three-game series at Houston on Friday night.

Twins relievers Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala and Griffin Jax combined to throw 2⅓ scoreless innings before closer Jhoan Duran came on for the ninth. The heat-throwing right-hander allowed a two-run single to Bobby Witt Jr. before retiring Vinnie Pasquantino on a comebacker to end the game and earn his ninth save.

The Royals took a 4-0 lead on a two-run homer by Vinnie Pasquatino in the first, a run-scoring double by Witt Jr. in the third and a solo home run by MJ Melendez in the fourth before the Twins began to chip away.

Twins starter Chris Paddock was tagged for all four runs but settled down enough late to keep his team in it. Jeffers hit a two-run home run off substitute starter Daniel Lynch IV after Correa reached on an error by Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia to cut the lead in half.

Jeffers’ solo homer in the fifth made it 4-3, and the Twins sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth to finally take a lead, and control, against right-hander Chris Stratton.

Pinch-hitter Max Kepler tied the game with a single that scored Willi Castro, who reached on an infield single and went to second on a throwing error by shortstop Witt Jr. The Twins then loaded the bases on walks by Carlos Santana and Manny Margot walked to bring up Correa.

The veteran shortstop hit a long liner foul down the left field line before stroking a 3-1 pitch from Stratton down the right field line to clear the bases and make it 7-4.

Stratton (0-4) took the loss, charged with four earned runs on three and hits and two walks in relief of Lynch, a right-hander who was recalled from Class AAA Omaha to start after lefty Brady Singer was scratched because of illness.

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