CINCINNATI (AP) — Willi Castro hit a two-run homer and made two spectacular catches, Kenta Maeda combined on a four-hitter and the Minnesota Twins beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-0 on Tuesday night in another step toward their third AL Central title in five seasons.
Ryan Jeffers added a solo homer for Minnesota (80-72), which entered with a seven-game lead over second-place Cleveland.
Cincinnati (79-74), shut out for the 10th time, remained out of the NL’s three wild card berths.
In his first season after Tommy John surgery, Maeda (6-7) won his third straight start after four no-decisions. He allowed one hit in five innings, retiring his first 11 batters before Spencer Steer doubled to left and Jake Fraley. After a double steal, Castro made a diving catch of Tyler Stephenson’s liner to center, which could have tied the game had it dropped.
Castro leaped at the wall to rob Stephenson of a home run in the seventh, a day after Michael A. Taylor denied Will Benson on a drive to center.
Maeda struck out eight and walked one. Kody Funderburk, Emilio Pagán, Caleb Thielbar and Dylan Floro finished the Twins’ 12th shutout.
Fernando Cruz (1-2) walked Max Kepler in the second and was charged with the game’s first run when Matt Wallner singled off Buck Farmer,
Castro homered in the seventh on a 352-foot fly to right off off Ben Lively that opened a 6-0 lead.
Twins: INF Royce Lewis appeared to hurt a leg while running out a double-play ball in the sixth. He stayed in the game, then left after fouling off a 2-1 pitch in the eighth. Minnesota said he had left hamstring tightness.
Reds: OF Harrison Bader was diagnosed with a sports hernia. He will return to his home in New York to rehab, … INF Matt McLain (right oblique strain) is taking light batting practice.
Reds RHP Hunter Greene (4-6, 4.45, 129 strikeouts) is due to face Twins RHP Bailey Ober (7-6, 3.67, 126 strikeouts) in Wednesday’s series finale.
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