Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Rookie's first homer lifts Twins over Bosox

MINNEAPOLIS — Staring at five infielders, Twins rookie Max Kepler was just trying to get a ball into the outfield to score Joe Mauer in the 10th inning.

Kepler's hit went a lot farther than that and provided a big lift for Minnesota.

Kepler's first major-league homer was a three-run shot Sunday that cleared the centerfield fence and gave the Twins a 7-4 victory over the Red Sox.

"I put my head down running to first, and then I saw it go (over) the wall and was like, that was me?" Kepler said.

Mauer drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Matt Barnes and was sacrificed to second by Trevor Plouffe. Brian Dozier singled off the glove of shortstop Xander Bogaerts, sending Mauer to third.

Boston brought in outfielder Mookie Betts and played in with a five-man infield, but Kepler made that all moot when the rookie gave Minnesota its fifth walkoff win of the season, the third on a home run.

"It's a sound move, but it's not something a hitter is accustomed to seeing," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "So you probably overthink it a little bit instead of putting a good swing on the ball. Thankfully he did it with two strikes."

Barnes hadn't allowed an extra-base hit in nine appearances.

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