With slump over, Twins look to take series from Nats

One day after ending their seven-game losing streak, the visiting Minnesota Twins will look to win their series against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon.

Washington won the series opener 12-3 on Monday, but the Twins routed the Nationals 10-0 on Tuesday. After two games in which their bats came alive, the Nationals found their offense stymied once again as they mustered only three hits against Joe Ryan and two relievers.

“It’s baseball,” Jacob Young, who had two of the three hits, said afterwards. “Some days you’re squaring balls up and some days you’re not. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw with a guy throwing a good game. It happens. We had a great game yesterday, they had a great game today. So now we get a rematch tomorrow.”

Minnesota right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 2.97 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Irvin (2-4, 3.91) in the finale.

Woods Richardson has given up two earned runs or fewer in five of his six starts but has not earned a decision since April 13. On May 11, he was roughed up for five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays in Toronto but bounced back last Friday, allowing one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings on the road against the Cleveland Guardians.

He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings in his only previous appearance against Washington last season.

Irvin is experiencing an up-and-down sophomore season with the Nationals. In the latest example, he followed a two-run, seven-inning effort against the Boston Red Sox on May 11 with a four-run, five-inning loss to the Phillies in Philadelphia on Friday.

Against the Phillies, Irvin faced a total of 17 batters through three innings before retiring the side in order in his final two frames.

“(I was) pretty bad in the beginning,” Irvin said. “Made some really bad pitches, and that’s the ones that those guys ended up making me pay for a little bit. After that, settled in, kind of realized the attack plan from the other side and made the adjustment, but it was a little too late.”

This will be his first start against the Twins.

Byron Buxton hit two home runs, and Jose Miranda and Willi Castro also homered Tuesday for the Twins, who ended their longest losing streak since an eight-game skid in April of 2018.

“Something needed to change,” said Buxton, who started things off with an opposite-field homer in the second inning.

Minnesota collected 10 hits, including one by Christian Vazquez, who snapped an 0-for-27 skid.

“We let pitches go that were competitive, but not pitches we want to swing at and offer at, and then we hammered the ones you want,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s not always going to be clean like that, but when it is, it feels good.”

The news was better elsewhere Tuesday for Washington. Outfielder Lane Thomas, out since April 23 with an MCL sprain in his left knee, played his first rehab game for Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.). He went 0-for-3 with a stolen base and an outfield assist.

Manager Dave Martinez said Thomas felt okay afterwards and the hope was to get him four at-bats on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media