Royce Lewis shines in return but Twins fall to Yankees

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NEW YORK — Was there ever any doubt that Royce Lewis would announce his return like this?

In his first game last season after major knee surgery, he hit a home run and drove in four runs. In the first game of the Wild Card Series, after missing the end of last season with a hamstring strain, he hit two home runs. So on Tuesday, upon his return from a quadriceps strain that he suffered on Opening Day, his at-bats were required viewing.

Lewis drew a pair of walks before hitting a home run, accounting for the Twins’ only run in their 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in the Bronx. He also made a sliding stop complete with a strong throw, showing out in the field, too.

While the Twins weathered the past couple of months without him fairly well, Lewis made it quickly apparent how much they’ve been missing without him.

But he couldn’t do it alone on Tuesday, and the rest of his teammates were quieted at the plate — the Twins’ only other hit was a Christian Vázquez double in the third inning off of Luis Gil.

Gil was a 19-year-old starter who hadn’t pitched at a level above the Dominican Summer League when the Twins shipped him to New York for outfielder Jake Cave. Cave played in 335 games for the Twins, serving as a backup outfielder over the course of five seasons.

Gil, meanwhile, spent most of that time in the minor leagues, developing.

Tuesday, the Twins got a chance to look at the pitcher they once traded away — and they saw firsthand why he was recently named the American League Pitcher and the Rookie of the Month for May.

Gil held the Twins scoreless for the duration of his six-inning start, lowering his earned-run average to 1.82, and while Bailey Ober did enough to keep the Twins close, it wasn’t enough on a quiet day for the offense.

Ober ran into some bad luck in the third inning, giving up a home run to Gleyber Torres on a ball that would not have been out in any of the other 29 ballparks. An inning later, an Aaron Judge double that stayed just fair in right field brought home another pair of runs to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

They tacked on another pair of runs in the eighth inning when Giancarlo Stanton took Caleb Thielbar deep for his 15th home run of the season.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 4: Bailey Ober #17 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after walking Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on June 4, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

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