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Schoop homer lifts Twins over Rangers; lead in AL Central race grows

Minnesota leads the AL Central by 1.5 games over Cleveland.
Jonathan Schoop

A clutch home run from Jonathan Schoop, coupled with the Yankees beating the Indians, helped the Twins increase their lead in the AL Central race to 1.5 games Friday night. 

Trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, Schoop, who had just 19 at-bats in August having essentially lost his starting job to rookie Luis Arraez, launched a two-run homer off All-Star lefty Mike Minor to put the Twins up 4-3 – a score the Twins would go on to win by. 

It's a big win for the Twins because the Yankees topped the Indians 3-2 in New York, meaning Minnesota enters play Saturday with a 1.5-game lead in the Central division. 

The only other two runs the Twins scored came on a two-run homer by Max Kepler in the fourth inning. Kepler's 33 homers is good for third in the American League, one ahead of teammate Nelson Cruz, who could return from the 10-day injured list next week. 

It's worth noting that Marwin Gonzalez is red-hot. He went 4-for-5 Thursday against the Rangers and followed that up with a 3-for-4 night at the plate Friday. At one point, he had hits in seven straight at-bats, which is two shy of the team record. 

Up next: Twins vs. Rangers, 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Jose Berrios starts for the Twins against Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado. 

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