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Max Kepler hits walk-off, saves Twins after blowing seven-run lead

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The Twins hung an eight-spot in the bottom of the fourth inning against Astros starter Lance McCullers, two of which scored on a Max Kepler home run, to take an 8-1 lead. But the Twins watched that seven-run lead evaporate as the Astros scored four runs in the fifth and one in the sixth, then rallied for two more runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game.

Kepler saved the Twins in the bottom of the ninth, drilling a 3-2 slider from Brad Peacock into the stands in right field for a walk-off solo home run, his second dinger of the day.

According to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, Twins manager Paul Molitor was talking extra-innings strategy with his coaches when Kepler hit his walk-off home run. Kepler didn’t want to see the game go into extras.

Kepler is now batting .281/.395/.625 with three home runs, five RBI, and four runs scored in 38 plate appearances on the season.

The Twins, now 6-4, won two of three games against the defending World Series champions. They went 1-5 against them last year.

Rangers, Padres, White Sox to continue paying minor leaguers

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In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.

Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.

Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.