MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Farmer went 3 for 4 with a pair of two-out RBIs, Max Kepler hit a three-run triple and the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins beat the New York Mets 8-4 on Saturday.
Kenta Maeda won for the first time in six starts and Willi Castro went 3 for 4 with a home run for the Twins, who moved a season-best eight games above .500. They cut their magic number for clinching the division to 14 with 20 games to go, having begun the day with a 6½-game lead on Cleveland. The Guardians played later at the Los Angeles Angels.
Brandon Nimmo hit his fifth leadoff homer of the year and Daniel Vogelbach added an RBI single in the first inning to give the Mets a quick lead, but starter David Peterson didn’t hold it.
All of Minnesota’s runs scored with two outs, starting with a two-run single by Donovan Solano in the first. After Jordan Luplow hustled for a double in the third inning, Farmer drove him in with a single. Then with the bases loaded in the seventh against Drew Smith, Kepler pinch hit for Luplow and missed a grand slam by a few inches when his drive off the wall in right-center landed below the flower boxes.
Pete Alonso hit his 43rd homer and D.J. Stewart also went deep in the eighth inning off rookie Louie Varland, but the Mets fell to 29-44 on the road after Dylan Floro pitched a perfect ninth for his first save for the Twins. Minnesota, which won the series opener 5-2, improved to 42-29 at home this year.
Omar Narváez threw out two runners trying to steal and another at third base when Luplow tried to retreat on a missed bunt attempt by Ryan Jeffers in the sixth. … Mets SS Francisco Lindor made a running stop and leaping throw off a crow hop to get Solano on a fifth-inning groundout. Alonso snagged a second-inning liner by Jorge Polanco with a quick-twitch backhanded reach at first.
Maeda (4-7) lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and one walk against two strikeouts.
Peterson (3-8) finished six innings for just the fourth time in 18 starts this year, matching his season high with eight strikeouts. He gave up eight hits and one walk.
Nimmo has a career-high 23 home runs, all from the leadoff spot. That’s the third-most in Mets history, behind Curtis Granderson (26) in 2015 and Tommie Agee (24) in 1970.
Mets: Stewart (lower back stiffness) returned to action after sitting for the last three games. … RF Starling Marte (right groin strain) has missed the last five weeks, but even with the Mets out of contention manager Buck Showalter said there’s a possibility he will play again this season.
Twins: Luplow had a scratch on his forehead after his headfirst dive for the double in the third, when his helmet slid forward to cover his face and he hit former teammate Francisco Lindor’s knee in a minor collision. Lindor put his arm around Luplow as they talked briefly after the play to make sure he was OK.
Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (8-7, 5.28 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday.
Twins: RHP Pablo López (10-7, 3.64 ERA) pitches the final game of the series.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB