MINNEAPOLIS -- — Byron Buxton raced around the bases all afternoon Sunday, his worth-the-price-of-admission speed on full display for the Minnesota Twins.

The right knee trouble he's been fighting all season sure looked like an afterthought.

“It’s a very fun part of my game,” Buxton said, “to be able to hit the ball in the gap and run and get that electricity going throughout the dugout.”


Buxton had three hits, including an RBI triple for the second straight game, in the Twins' 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies that stretched their division lead ahead of a pivotal series against Cleveland. Max Kepler added two hits and two RBI for the Twins, who have a two-game lead in the AL Central. They hit the road for five games in four days against the Guardians, who overtook the Twins for one day this week only to lose four straight — including a sweep at home by Boston. The Twins have led the division for 65 of 82 days this season.  

The Rockies, on the other hand, finished their road trip 1-5 and scored only six runs in their last four games.

Buxton had been held out of the starting lineup for three straight games to rest his persistently sore and swollen right knee. He'd gone almost three years without a triple until hitting one Saturday in a 6-0 win over the Rockies. He also scored from first base on Sunday on Kepler's two-out double in the seventh down the left-field line to give the Twins some insurance.

Twins RHP Joe Smith was placed on the 15-day injured list with tightness in his upper trapezoid muscle, which is around the neck. LHP Jovani Moran was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to take Smith's place in the bullpen, his third stint in the majors this season.

Coming up the Twins will play five games in Cleveland beginning today. Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.53 ERA) will open the series Monday night in Cleveland, with RHP Triston McKenzie (4-5, 3.51 ERA) taking the mound for the home team. Gray and McKenzie were the starting pitchers here on Wednesday night when the Guardians won 11-10.

Minnesota Twins baseball is here on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO.

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