Carlos Correa homers, makes diving grab to lead Twins over Nationals 3-2

WASHINGTON -- — Carlos Correa hit a solo home run and made a diving play to prevent a game-tying run, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Wednesday.

“He makes the play of the day defensively, clearly,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Correa's lunging stop and throw that preserved a 2-1 lead. “We’re probably still playing, or we could be down if he doesn’t play the way that he played today defensively. I mean, that’s big-time stuff.”

Max Kepler also had a solo shot, doubled and scored a late run to win the game and series, which the Twins began by losing their seventh in a row.

Minnesota starter Simeon Woods allowed three hits and a walk over 4 and 2/3 scoreless innings, and Steven Okert (1-0) retired four straight batters — after hopping on the Nationals' bullpen cart and tipping his driver a $5 bill — for the first win of his career with the Twins.

“I've been carrying it the whole series, waiting to get in,” Okert said.

Joey Meneses homered for Washington, which lost its seventh out of eight while going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

In the seventh, Keibert Ruiz grounded into a fielder's choice off Jax Griffin to plate one runner, advance another to third and cut Washington's deficit.

Jacob Young followed by hammering a grounder up the middle. But Correa ranged to his left, dove to glove the ball, than leaped to his feet and threw to retire Young by a step.

Caleb Thielbar worked a clean eighth, and after Kepler scored on Ryan Jeffers' single, Jhoan Duran worked around Meneses' homer to preserve his fourth save.

Jake Irvin (2-5) allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings in his first career start against a Twins team that once drafted him in the late rounds out of high school.

“Jake pitched really well. He kept us in the game,” said Nationals manager Dave Martinez.

The Nationals righty allowed only five hits and struck out six, but twice succumbed to first-pitch swings.

Kepler led off the second by catching up to Irvin’s fastball and sent a towering shot to right-center. With two outs in the sixth, Correa turned on Irvin's curveball and drove it several rows deep into the left-field seats.

“He went up there with a good plan,” said Baldelli, who on Monday had vented that his team was not adjusting well to opponents focusing on off-speed offerings. “That's making an adjustment in a game. That's all the stuff we're talking about.”


Twins: DH/OF Trevor Larnach (turf toe) played his first game in the field since May 8, starting in left, but is still dealing with some soreness. “There's really only one way to test it out, it's to put him in the field and let him play,” Baldelli said.


Twins: RHP Bailey Ober takes his turn Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Texas and seven-game home stand.

Nationals: Begin a three-game set against visiting Seattle on Friday, but have not yet named their probable starters for the series.