Tovar hits 3-run homer, Quantrill throws six scoreless innings as Rockies beat Twins 5-4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ezequiel Tovar hit a three-run homer, Cal Quantrill kept his strong run going with six scoreless innings and the Colorado Rockies held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Quantrill (6-4), who’s allowed more than two runs just once in his last eight starts, gave up three hits and walked one, while striking out five batters. The 29-year-old right-hander has allowed 10 earned runs in 47 innings (1.92 ERA) since the start of May.

Colorado had just one hit in five innings against Twins starter Louie Varland, who was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul earlier in the day. With reliever Caleb Thielbar starting the sixth inning, Charlie Blackmon singled and Brenton Doyle walked before Tovar lined a pitch over the wall in left field for his 11th homer of the season.

“We’re watching a young talent emerge into one of the, I think, potential stars of the game,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It’s a premium position and there’s a lot of good ones. There’s a lot of good ones. But I think in time, you’ll see that he’ll be right there with them all.”

Tyler Kinley allowed a two-run homer to Minnesota's Carlos Santana with two outs in the ninth but earned his fifth save in as many chances for the Rockies.

Thielbar (2-2) faced just four batters and was done after a long double off the center field wall from Ryan McMahon, who added a solo homer in the eighth.

“We put Caleb in a good spot and he went out there and gave up some runs,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It happens. It’s going to be part of it. We were able to get back in the game. We still had a chance to even win that game, despite going down, but I would put Caleb in that spot again because I think it’s a good spot for him.”

Byron Buxton had a two-run homer in the seventh for Minnesota, which had won two in a row following a five-game losing streak.

Varland, who started the season in the Twins' rotation before being optioned in April after going 0-4 with a 9.18 ERA, allowed just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.

“I would say I’m the same pitcher,” Varland said. “I made some better pitches. I had a better process but yeah.”

Tovar, 22, continues his breakout in his second full major league season. The Venezuela native started the day second in the National League in doubles and multihit games. He was fourth in hits and tied for third in extra-base hits and total bases.

“Once he learns to control the strike zone a little better and the on-base percentage climbs, then you’ll see some real numbers," Black said. "He still has a little bit of the chase. He still has a little bit of the expansion of his swing. But he’ll get there and then you’ll see some of the other numbers that we talk about get there.”

Colorado, which had lost two in a row and eight of 10, won for the 500th time with Black as manager. Black, who won 649 games as manager of the San Diego Padres, is the first manager to win 500 games with two teams and also record 100 wins as a pitcher, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: C Elias Díaz (strained left calf) won’t return during the team’s trip to Minnesota after he left Monday’s game in the first inning while running to first base. Black said the trainers are optimistic regarding the injury and there is no plan to place Díaz on the injured list.

Twins: Varland was recalled for a spot start to give the rotation an extra day of rest. Reliever Diego Castillo was optioned to Triple-A.

UP NEXT

RHP Pablo López (5-6, 5.45 ERA) will start for Minnesota in the afternoon series finale on Wednesday. Colorado counters with LHP Austin Gomber (1-3, 3.38).

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