Cave’s homer, 4 RBIs help Twins complete sweep of Giants

Jake Cave homered, doubled and drove in four runs as the Minnesota Twins defeated the San Francisco Giants 8-3 to finish a three-game sweep Sunday.

Cave gave the Twins a 3-2 lead with his second homer of the season in the fourth inning. He added a two-run double in the fifth to cap a five-run rally that put Minnesota on top for good.

Cave tied Saturday night’s game with a two-out single in the ninth before the Twins won in the 10th. The backup outfielder was recalled from the minors in early August and is seeing more playing time with All-Star center fielder Byron Buxton on the injured list. But he stated he’s ready to play any role manager Rocco Baldelli has in mind for him.

“If I get a chance to start, awesome, I love it,” Cave said. “If I’ve got to come off the bench and help somebody out, then I love that, too.”

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The Twins outscored the Giants 20-5 in the series and have won three straight following a six-game losing streak that knocked them out of first place in the AL Central.

The victory Sunday moved Minnesota within two games of first-place Cleveland, which got shut out in Seattle.

“I’d say this is probably one of our best series of the year. I don’t know any other way to boil it down,” Baldelli said. “The last three games is as good a three games as you can expect a team to play. Whether we were putting up runs or playing close ballgames, staying in the game, pitchers coming in and doing their jobs, complete baseball. That’s what you want.”

Devin Smeltzer (5-2) earned his first win since June 23, when he was part of Minnesota’s rotation. Smeltzer threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Aaron Sanchez.

Michael Fulmer and Jorge López each pitched a perfect inning to end it.

Giants starter Jakob Junis (4-4) gave up six earned runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. The outing completed a rough month for Junis, who went 0-2 with a 7.13 ERA in five August starts.

Brandon Crawford singled three times and drove in a run for the Giants, who have lost eight of 10 and ended a 2-6 road swing.

“Not good enough, not up to anybody in this clubhouse’s standards,” said manager Gabe Kapler, whose team is 7 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot in the NL. “We have to come back home and keep our heads down, keep grinding, keep working every day and understand that there’s still time. And really fight and scratch and claw to stay in this thing.”

The lead changed hands five times before the Twins broke it open in the fifth. Max Kepler, Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela each had an RBI double before Cave drove in two more with another double.


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