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Polanco, Kepler lead Twins to another series victory over AL's best

The Twins earned a 5-4 victory over the division-leading Rays.
Max Kepler

Watch out for the red-hot Minnesota Twins.

With Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco leading the way, the Twins picked up a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday which was their eighth victory in their past 12 games.

Sunday's game got off to a strong start when Polanco and Kepler walked to lead off the game. After Josh Donaldson drove in a run with an RBI single, Trevor Larnach drove in another on a fielder's choice to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Polanco and Kepler fueled another big inning for the Twins in the fourth when they drew a pair of two-out walks. Just like in the first inning, Donaldson cashed in with a two-run double to put the Twins ahead 4-0.

While the Twins were putting runs on the board, Charlie Barnes was keeping the Rays off of it. The left-hander went five innings with three strikeouts with his only blemish coming on a Mike Zunino homer in the fifth.

Although Barnes provided a solid start, the Rays got back into the game thanks to the Twins bullpen. A two-run homer by Wander Franco made it 4-3 in the sixth inning before Randy Arrozarena tied the game with an infield single in the seventh.

The game dragged onto the bottom of the ninth where Kepler and Polanco would fuel the Twins to victory. Kepler led off the inning with a line drive to left field but Austin Meadows misplayed the ball which allowed it to roll to the fence and give Kepler a triple. The next at-bat, Polanco delivered a sacrifice fly that gave the Twins their third straight series victory.

Although the Twins are out of the race in the American League Central, there's some optimism to be found in this recent stretch. 

The Twins have taken series against all three division leaders (Houston, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay) over the past week and will look to continue that momentum when they start a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

Griffin Jax will take the mound in Monday's opener against Cal Quantrill with first pitch at Target Field scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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