MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Edouard Julien returned to the leadoff spot and hit a home run, knocked in two runs and scored twice to lead Minnesota to a 7-1 win over the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, ending the Twins’ three-game losing streak.
Joe Ryan gave up six hits, struck out four and allowed a run in season-low five innings in picking up his seventh win in eight decisions. Four relievers finished up on a day San Francisco left 15 runners on base and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Ryan, a diehard Giants fan while growing up in Marin County, California, came into the game the American League’s No. 4 pitcher in ERA. He pitched fewer than six innings for the first time this season.
“I don’t know how many foul balls they hit today; it seemed like every pitch … it was definitely more grindy,” Ryan said. “I think just having good support from the offense today — Julien starting off hot was awesome and I think just shows (when you’re) hitting the ball hard, good things happen.”
Julien went 1 for 3 as a slew of injuries forced manager Rocco Baldelli to juggle his lineup more than normal. The latest change saw Julien bat leadoff for the first time since April 16.
Three of the Twins’ seven runs yielded by Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani (3-4) in five innings were unearned. The 33-year-old right-hander was the victim of a season-high three errors and hit a batter who came around to score.
“Not our best defensive game,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “A good reminder that we have been playing good defense for the majority of the season, but that obviously wasn’t good enough.”
Julien gave the Twins a 1-0 lead on DeSclafani’s second pitch — the first leadoff home run of his career and his first homer at Target Field. He added a second-inning sacrifice fly that made it 3-1.
“I’ll remember this one forever,” the 24-year-old Julien said.
A hit batter, pair of fielding gaffes and aggressive Twins base running helped Minnesota open up a 5-1 advantage in the third inning.
Kyle Farmer reached on a fielding error by shortstop Brandon Crawford, then scored when a ball off Matt Wallner’s bat found its way through second baseman Brett Wisely’s legs. Willi Castro, who had been hit by a pitch, teamed up with Wallner to execute a double steal that brought Castro home.
Castro, who went 2-for-3 with a double, believes it’s the first time he’s stolen home. It’s the first time a Twins batter has done it since Clete Thomas in 2013.
Brock Stewart, Jovani Moran, José De León and Jhoan Duran combined for four innings of scoreless relief in handing the Giants their first loss in four games.
Duran threw three pitches of 104 mph or higher, including a 104.6 mph four-seam fastball that Wilmer Flores fouled off in the ninth inning, the fastest pitch by a Minnesota pitcher since Statcast began tracking in 2015. It tied for the eighth-fastest pitch in the majors during that span.
Giants: Kapler said Austin Slater could return from the injured list in the next 3-4 days. The Giants are considering a rehab assignment for the 30-year-old outfielder, who has made just six starts this season due to a pair of left hamstring injuries.
Twins: Joey Gallo is expected to miss at least a few days after injuring his hamstring Tuesday. Carlos Correa missed his second straight game with a bruised left heel.
San Francisco heads to Milwaukee for a four-game series. LHP Scott Alexander (4-0, 4.42 ERA) is the Giants’ projected starter Thursday.
Minnesota hosts Toronto for a three-game series, starting Friday. RHP Louie Varland (2-0, 4.18 ERA) is expected to start Friday.
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