Willi Castro hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning as the Minnesota Twins rallied to defeat the Cleveland Guardians 7-6 in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday at Minneapolis.
Christian Vazquez led off the ninth with a four-pitch walk off Guardians reliever Eli Morgan (2-1), and pinch runner Ryan Jeffers advanced to third on a double by Jorge Polanco.
Alex Kirilloff was then walked intentionally to load the bases, and Castro, who entered the game in the seventh inning when Max Kepler left due to a migraine, followed with fly ball to right to easily drive in Jeffers.
Royce Lewis hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the eighth and Michael A. Taylor also homered for the Twins. Minnesota's Donovan Solano had two hits, including an RBI double, and Vazquez went 2-for-3. Griffin Jax (3-6) picked up the win with an scoreless inning of relief.
Mike Zunino had a two-run single to highlight a five-run sixth inning that saw Cleveland chase Minnesota starter Pablo Lopez. Will Brennan and Gabriel Arias each added two hits apiece for the Guardians.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Andres Gimenez led off with a bloop double down the left field line and scored two outs later on single by Brennan.
Minnesota tied it in the fourth when Kirilloff led off with a walk, went to second when Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Kepler.
The Twins took a 3-1 lead in the fifth. Taylor led off with his seventh homer of the season. Vazquez followed with a double and later scored on a single by Kirilloff.
Cleveland rebounded to take a 6-3 lead in the sixth parlaying a walk and six singles into five runs. Jose Ramirez and Josh Bell sandwiched RBI singles around an RBI groundout by Gimenez. Zunino capped the rally with a two-run, bases-loaded single under the glove of a diving Lewis at third base.
Minnesota rallied to tie it 6-6 in the eighth against Cleveland reliever Trevor Stephan. Castro led off with an infield single and then scored on a double by Solano into the gap in left-center. One out later, Lewis tied it with his second home run of the season, a 421-foot drive to center.
Buxton left in the fifth inning with rib soreness after getting hit in the ribs with a Tanner Bibee fastball an inning earlier.
Bibee, the Cleveland starter, yielded three runs on six hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out six.
--Field Level Media