Twins beat Reds with ninth-inning rally as magic number drops to 2

Bobby Nightengale, Star Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CINCINNATI – Willi Castro beat the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday with his game-changing catches.

On Wednesday, the Twins utilityman decided to do it all with his offense.

Castro provided the only blemish in Hunter Greene's spectacular start with a solo home run in the seventh inning, and then he turned into a one-man wrecking crew in the ninth inning as the Twins rallied for a 5-3 comeback win at Great American Ball Park.

The Twins' magic number to secure their first playoff berth since 2020 dropped to two, and they could clinch as early as Thursday.

Castro opened the ninth inning against Reds All-Star closer Alexis Díaz with a bunt single, perfectly placed as it rolled past the right side of the mound, after he signaled bunt on two previous pitches. Castro took off for second base on Díaz's next pitch, and the throw from catcher Luke Maile skipped past second baseman Jonathan India and rolled into center field, allowing Castro to advance to third.

Kyle Farmer, who swung the first pitch he saw from Díaz to buy Castro an extra split-second, blooped the next pitch into right field for a game-tying RBI single. It was just the third blown save of the season for Díaz, who leads the National League with 37 saves.


The Twins loaded the bases after Christian Vázquez drew a one-out walk and Ryan Jeffers was intentionally walked with lefty Sam Moll on the mound. The decision to walk Jeffers backfired when Jorge Polanco pulled a two-run single through the right side of the infield.

It was the fifth time the Twins won a game when they were trailing after eight innings.

The Twins were the one team that passed on Greene in the 2017 MLB draft and maybe Greene wanted to show them what they were missing.

Greene struck out a career-high 14 batters over seven innings, overpowering Twins hitters with an equal mix of fastballs and sliders. His 14 strikeouts were the most by a Reds starter in a game since Ron Villone struck out 16 batters on Sept. 29, 2000.


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