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Byron Buxton puts on speed display in win over Rockies

Buxton finished the day a home run shy of the cycle and scored three runs in the Minnesota Twins’ 6-3 series finale victory over the Colorado Rockies.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton hits a double against the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- You wouldn’t know it by watching him fly around the bases that just a few days ago, Byron Buxton right knee was bothering him so much that he was forced to watch multiple games from the bench.

Getting his knee feeling good and ready to play has become part of the daily process for Buxton. But when he’s on the field, he continues to dazzle and on Sunday, it was with his speed. Buxton finished the day a home run shy of the cycle and scored three runs in the Minnesota Twins’ 6-3 series finale victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

“The stuff he’s playing through is — there’s reasons he gets his days off,” reliever Emilio Págan said. “But we need him and today he showed what he’s capable of when he’s out there. Any time you get a chance to watch Byron Buxton play baseball, you should take it.”

Buxton’s speed was on full display all day on Sunday, proving a difference-maker in the Twins’ (41-33) win.

In the second inning, he legged out a triple in the second inning — his second in as many days after not hitting one since 2019 — and then jogged home to score on Carlos Correa’s sacrifice fly.

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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan (41) throws to the Colorado Rockies in the first inning Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Target Field.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports

“I like to run,” he said. “It’s a very fun part of my game for me to be able to hit the ball in the gap and run and kind of get that electricity going throughout the dugout.”

In the fourth inning, he turned what should have been a single into a hustle double. And in the seventh, he raced home to score from first on Max Kepler’s double.

A week ago, on the triple, he might have just pulled up into second. Days ago, he couldn’t play. Sunday, he was putting on a show.

“You really can’t find another athlete on the field that can do what he can do,” starter Joe Ryan said. “He’s probably the most exciting player in the game.”

Buxton’s big day — Kepler also finished with a pair of hits and RBIs and Luis Arraez contributed a multi-hit effort — was in support of Ryan, who worked through five innings without his best stuff.

Ryan gave up eight hits, dealing with traffic in each inning, but skirting his way around serious trouble. The Rockies (31-42) scored a run in the first inning and by the time they scored their next in the third, the Twins’ offense had staked Ryan to a 5-1 lead.

“I didn’t have that zip, I guess,” Ryan said. “The buzz. Whatever you want to call it. … That happens.”

Caleb Thielbar followed him into the game, loading the bases with no outs to begin the sixth inning. For the second time this week, the Twins wriggled out of a bases-loaded, no outs situation, with Thielbar and Págan combining to do so. Págan entered with two outs and got former Twin C.J. Cron, who already had two hits in the game, to go down on three pitches.

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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins right fielder Max Kepler hits an RBI single Sunday, June 26, 2022, against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports

Tyler Duffey and Jhoan Duran then followed, each throwing a scoreless inning in the win.

“There were baserunners everywhere today,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Joe and the rest of the guys really had to make good pitches when it mattered.”

They did, and combined with one of those vintage displays by Buxton, the Twins now head to Cleveland for a big five-game series with the Guardians with a two-game cushion.

“His stride is really something,” Baldelli said of Buxton. “As we’ve seen, earlier in this year, everything he’s dealt with, you probably haven’t seen it as much as you normally would. But when you see it, it’s fun and special.”

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINS
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