August 6, 2019 / 3:46 AM / 15 days ago

Sano's pinch-hit homer lifts Twins over Braves

EditorsNote: Clarifies Twins’ first rally was in fourth inning; changes XBH streak to 66; other minor edits

Aug 5, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Marwin Gonzalez (9) fields a ball in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Sano hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and give the Minnesota Twins a 5-3 walk-off victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night in Minneapolis.

Sano hit an 0-1 cutter by Braves’ reliever Chris Martin (0-3) high off the batter’s eye in center field for his 19th home run of the season, driving in Luis Arraez, who had kept the inning alive with a two-out bloop single.

It was the second pinch-hit homer of Sano’s career and a major league-best 219th home run for the Twins.

Max Kepler also homered and Arraez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored for Minnesota, which won its fourth straight and seventh out of eight games to increase its American League Central Division lead to four games over Cleveland, which lost to Texas on Monday.

Trevor May (5-3) picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief.

Freddie Freeman homered and had two hits, and Josh Donaldson and Ronald Acuna Jr. also had two hits for Atlanta, which lost for the third time in four games.

Atlanta starter Mike Soroka retired the first 11 batters he faced before the Twins parlayed four consecutive two-out singles into a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Nelson Cruz started the rally with a rare infield single, went to second on a line single to center by Eddie Rosario, and advanced to third on an infield single by Marwin Gonzalez. Arraez then lined a single to left to drive in Cruz and Rosario.

Atlanta cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fifth on Freeman’s 27th home run of the season, an opposite-field drive that hit the top of the left field fence and bounced over.

Kepler made it 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth with his 31st homer, a 421-foot drive to center that moved him into second place in the AL behind Mike Trout (37) of the Los Angeles Angels. It also extended Minnesota’s streak with an extra-base hit to 66 consecutive games.

The Braves tied it in the seventh when Acuna singled, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Ozzie Albies that right fielder Jake Cave mishandled for an error, allowing Albies to take second. One out later, Albies scored on a single by Donaldson.

Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte left the game in the eighth inning for precautionary reasons with left quad tightness.

—Field Level Media

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