Louie Varland sharp, but Twins fall to Rockies

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Louie Varland was back in the major leagues on Tuesday for a spot start, during which he did all that he could to showcase the progress he has made while at Triple-A.

It took just three batters for all of his hard work to unravel.

Varland threw five scoreless innings on Tuesday only to watch the game turn quickly upon his departure. Three batters after he departed, the Twins were down three runs and they eventually fell 5-4 to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night at Target Field.

The St. Paulite, who earned the fifth spot in the rotation out of camp only to post a 9.18 earned-run average in four starts, was efficient in his start, cruising on just 63 pitches.

But rather than let him face the Rockies’ order for the third time — opponents entered the day with a .353 batting average against him the third time through the order — the Twins turned the game over to the bullpen.

Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) throws to first after forcing out Colorado Rockies’ Ezequiel Tovar, bottom, on a double play hit into by Ryan McMahon during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The Rockies quickly capitalized.

Caleb Thielbar allowed a single and issued a walk before Ezequiel Tovar unleashed on a fastball and sent it out to left-center field.

Thielbar, enduring his own struggles this season, wound up giving up another run in the inning, pushing the Twins into a hole from which they never recovered.

Byron Buxton’s two-run home run in the seventh inning cut the Rockies’ lead in half, but a potential opportunity later in the inning was halted when Carlos Santana was doubled off first base on a fly ball to left field.

Santana did bring the Twins within a run with two outs in the ninth, sending a two-run shot out to left field, but a Ryan McMahon home run an inning earlier proved the difference.

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