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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles DodgersJun 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Cal Quantrill (47) pitches during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

When Royce Lewis feels healthy, baseballs tend to feel pain.

The Minnesota Twins’ talented 25-year-old homered in his return to the lineup last week after missing two-plus months because of a strained quadriceps. He homered again as the team returned home Monday for the first time since he was activated.

On Tuesday night, Lewis will look to do more of the same as Minnesota aims for back-to-back wins over the Colorado Rockies to start a three-game series.

The Twins put away the series opener 5-0 thanks to three runs in the eighth inning. Two came on Lewis’ 435-foot, two-run shot to left-center field. It marked his fourth home run in only seven games this season.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli praised Lewis for returning with such a hot bat.

“It’s impressive,” Baldelli said. “But (it’s) nothing that would shock you at this point. He’s a very dangerous hitter. A lot of swings that he takes, they’re on a really good plane, and the bat moves really fast. His hands move fast. You feel like every swing, something good could happen for your team.”

Colorado, meanwhile, is hoping for anyone in its lineup to find a spark. The Rockies tallied six hits in the series opener but were shut out for the eighth time this season. They have lost two games in a row and eight of 10.

Rockies manager Bud Black offered a succinct explanation for his hitters’ struggles on Monday against Twins right-hander Chris Paddack.

“We couldn’t get to the high fastball, and we couldn’t get to the low secondary pitches,” Black said.

The Twins plan to call up right-hander Louie Varland (0-4, 9.18 ERA) to start the second game of the series. Varland struggled in four starts before he was demoted to Triple-A St. Paul, and he will make the short trek to the neighboring city across the Mississippi River to return to the majors.

The 26-year-old Varland has never faced the Rockies. He is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in five games (four starts) against interleague opponents.

The Rockies will counter with right-hander Cal Quantrill (5-4, 3.58), who is set to make his 14th start. He leads the team in victories and innings (73) this season and ranks second with 51 strikeouts.

Quantrill defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in his most recent start on Thursday. He pitched five scoreless innings.

In his career, Quantrill is 5-0 with a 3.23 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) against Minnesota. He has walked 13 and struck out 38 in 53 innings.

Quantrill might be without Rockies catcher Elias Diaz, who exited Monday’s game because of a calf strain. Black described Diaz’s status as day-to-day and said it wasn’t a new issue.

“(Diaz) has been feeling it for a couple weeks and he’s been able to manage it, but today on that particular ground ball out of the box, it got him,” Black said. “We’ll see in a couple days. (Head trainer) Keith (Dugger) wants to treat it for a day or two and see where we are. It’s a blow.”

–Field Level Media

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