The American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins will turn to All-Star right-hander Pablo Lopez as they try to complete a three-game series sweep of the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.
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Lopez (10-7, 3.64 ERA) is 5-1 with a 1.93 ERA over his last seven starts with 39 strikeouts in 42 innings. He allowed one run on eight hits over six innings in his latest start, a 20-6 win at Cleveland on Monday.
However, Lopez has struggled against New York. He is just 4-5 with a 6.32 ERA in 11 career starts against the Mets, all of which came with the Miami Marlins. He went 2-3 with a 9.53 ERA in five starts last season and gave up six or more runs in three of his starts.
Right-hander Tylor Megill (8-7, 5.28 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Twins for New York (64-77), which has lost three in a row. He won his latest start on Sunday against Seattle, allowing three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six in the 6-3 game.
Megill, whose older brother, Trevor, pitched with Minnesota last season and is now a reliever with the Milwaukee Brewers, will have his hands full with a Twins team that has won six of its past eight games while averaging 7.62 runs per game and won Saturday’s contest 8-4.
Max Kepler led the way for Minnesota (75-67) with a pinch-hit, three-run triple off the top of the wall in right-center to highlight a four-run seventh against reliever Drew Smith. Willie Castro had three hits, including a homer and double, and Kyle Farmer went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
“Needed a big hit to break it open,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Kep was that guy today. Feels like every day we have a different guy coming through and doing something like that.”
“Yeah, the bats are (going) good,” Farmer added. “The pitching is doing great. We’re clicking on all cylinders right now, so it’s been a good weekend so far. We’ve got to finish (Sunday).”
New York got home runs from Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo and DJ Stewart in the loss. Nimmo led off the game with his 23rd homer of the season against Kenta Maeda, an opposite-field drive that barely cleared the fence in left, while Alonso’s 43rd of the season off reliever Louie Varland went 427-feet deep into the second deck in left-center. Farmer’s was a 428-foot drive to right-center.
David Peterson (3-8) suffered the loss for the Mets, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings. He walked one and struck eight, tying his season high.
“(Peterson) was good again today,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I think there were seven hits today by them of the soft variety, swinging bunts and some flares. … Good to see him this time of the season pitch well against a team, on the road, that has everything on the line. I was happy with that.”
—Field Level Media