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In anticipation of 1,000, here’s a look at the most memorable home runs at Target Field

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In anticipation of 1,000, here’s a look at the most memorable home runs at Target Field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s been walk-offs and inside-the-parkers. There have been balls that have just barely cleared the wall, and ones that have traveled nearly 500 feet.

Since Target Field opened, the Twins have hit 999 home runs at the park, starting with Jason Kubel on Opening Day 2010. No one has hit more there than Brian Dozier (81), though Miguel Sanó is not far behind and could eclipse that record.

When the Twins return home to take on the Detroit Tigers this week, they’re likely to hit the 1,000 milestone. Before they do, here’s a look back at 10 of the most memorable longballs since the stadium opened.

April 12, 2010: Jason Kubel

Former Twins outfielder Jason Kubel holds an important distinction: His Opening Day home run, which he deposited into the seats in right field, was the first in Target Field’s history.

The Twins, of course, wanted to procure the baseball, and the fan who caught it had a very specific request.

“The fan wanted a Joe Mauer autographed bat, which I always thought was odd,” longtime television announcer Dick Bremer said. “I thought if Kubel hit it, the exchange should be an autographed bat of Jason Kubel, not Joe Mauer, but I understand. I understand the fan’s standpoint absolutely.”

Aug. 17, 2010: Jim Thome

It took until mid-August for the Twins to collect their first walk-off hit at Target Field, and it was a home run from who else but future Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Against his former team, the White Sox, and his former teammate, Matt Thornton, Thome clobbered the second pitch he saw, sending the Twins to a 7-6 win. For Bremer, that was “without question,” the most memorable home run in the ballpark’s history to him.

“It turned a loss into a win for the Twins and did just the opposite for the White Sox,” Bremer said. “I think it turned out to be a pivot point in the whole season for both teams.”

Sept. 6, 2010: Jim Thome

Another entry from Thome came later that year when the lefty absolutely demolished a pitch for a majestic home run that he took out to right field. The ball wound up hitting off the top of the flagpole that holds the American flag on the right field concourse.

“Oh my goodness gracious,” Bremer said on the call.

Estimates had the ball traveling 480 feet, which would have been the longest home run at the ballpark at the time. It has since been eclipsed.

May 6, 2015: Eddie Rosario

Reliever Tyler Duffey, one of the longest tenured Twins, has seen his fair share of Target Field home runs.

But one of the ones at the forefront of Duffey’s mind is Eddie Rosario’s first, in which the outfielder took the first pitch he saw as a major leaguer out to left field, an opposite-field blast that eventually earned him the silent treatment from his teammates in the dugout.

“That was probably the coolest that I can think of just because like, first day, first at-bat, first pitch of his career, hits a home run,” Duffey said. “It was just so stereotypically Rosie, like just right on brand for him.”

July 10, 2015: Brian Dozier

After missing out on an all-star nomination, Dozier showed why he belonged.

The Twins entered the ninth inning trailing the Tigers 6-1. They charged all the way back, with Dozier’s three-run blast off Joakim Soria capping an improbable victory. To this day, that home run stands out as radio announcer Cory Provus’s favorite.

“The team wasn’t very good and you’re looking for bright spots,” Provus said. “Brian Dozier became one of the most feared right-handed batters in baseball that season, and I just remember that home run being significant because it was also the beginning of the end of the Tigers’ run.”

June 12, 2016: Max Kepler

How’s this for a first career home run?

Tied 4-4 with a pair of runners in scoring position and just one out, Max Kepler remembers the Red Sox bringing an extra infielder in. His plan, he said, was to just hit a sacrifice fly. He did one better, instead taking an 0-2 pitch from Matt Barnes and depositing it into center field for a walk-off.

“That was a really cool one because that was like a really big moment to homer and it kind (of was) like Kepler’s like coming out, ‘Like, alright, I’m here,’” Duffey said. “I think it was like a theater like 98. … He just whacked it.”

May 5, 2017: Joe Mauer

Barnes was also on the mound during another memorable Twins’ moment: Mauer’s first — and only — walk-off home run.

With the Twins and Red Sox tied 3-3 in the ninth, Mauer took a pitch out to the bullpen in center field, tipping his helmet to the crowd before he met a group of his exuberant teammates at the plate.

“I saved it for the right moment, right?” Mauer said shortly after hitting the blast.

Aug. 5, 2019: Miguel Sanó

Braves center fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. didn’t even bother racing back to track the baseball. He knew, as did everyone in the park, that Sanó had gotten all of it.

The two-run blast broke open a 3-3 game in the ninth inning and ignited a celebration that still sticks with many to this day.

“It was mammoth of a homer against a good team that year, which was (a) very much-needed win, and yeah just how we celebrated it and how he came in as like a gorilla, like patting the ground, that was something that’s (been) imprinted in my mind for a while,” Kepler said.

Sept. 17, 2019: Miguel Sanó

Not only did Sanó’s blast off White Sox reliever Ross Detwiler travel 496-feet, a Target Field record that stands to this day, it was also his 30th of the season.

With that, the Twins became the first team in history to have five players reach that milestone in a season. Sanó joined Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario in doing so.

When he connected, Sanó dropped his bat after his follow through and Detwiler turned around, watched it travel and then put his hands on his thighs and hung his head down.

“He’s physically capable of doing things that really very few people in baseball are capable of doing,” manager Rocco Baldelli said that day.

Sept. 22, 2019: Nelson Cruz

The first home run of Nelson Cruz’s decorated career came in July 2006 in Minnesota against the Twins. The 400th came in Minnesota for the Twins.

Cruz had been sitting on No. 399, awaiting the milestone for a couple days by the time he connected with a Gabe Speier pitch and sent it into the second deck in right-center field. In addition to it being the 400th of his career, it was his 40th that season, marking the fourth time he had reached that number.

“Very special,” Cruz said that day. “It’s definitely a good one. It’s nice to do it in front of the fans. I think they deserve it.”

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

For so much of the second half, Minnesota looked comfortable and ready to take a much-needed victory.

Shockingly, Inter Miami, the second-worst goal-scoring team in MLS notched two goals in the final three minutes to flip the script and take a 2-1 victory in the first MLS meeting between the two teams.

“[We] put ourselves in a great spot,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We’re not doing enough, it doesn’t look as though it’s enough to concede goals and lose games.”

Inter Miami forward Indiana Vassilev only made it into the game as a late-game bench substitution, but he made the most of his opportunity scoring in the 87th and 90th minute to give his team a victory, surpassing Minnesota’s one-goal lead it held since the 65th minute.

The Loons’ defense had kept Minnesota in the game for each chance Inter Miami had for the first 86 minutes, but the team couldn’t get the stops near the end to come up with the victory.

“At those times of the game, you need to do whatever you can to just beat your man,” Loons defender Michael Boxall said.

Minnesota’s victory looked nearly locked up as the Loons held the 1-0 difference into the final five minutes of the game. That goal followed a resilient start to the second half after many chances weren’t finished.

The Minnesota goal scorer was Luis Amarilla, who put the ball past the Inter Miami goalkeeper in tight in the 65th minute. It was his first goal in MLS play since March 19.

Amarilla was in such a position to score the goal so close to the keeper because of an acrobatic one-touch centering pass from Franco Fragapane. The play all began from Emmanuel Reynoso getting the ball on the right side of the attacking zone. He cut towards the middle and sent a lofting kick that found the airborne Fragapane for his assist.

While Minnesota finally found the back of the net in the back half of the game, there was no shortage of missed opportunities earlier in the contest.

“We’re not good enough at one end, and we’re not good enough at the other, and that’s not a good recipe,” Heath said. “We’ve got to get more and more determination to get on the things in the box and we’ve certainly got to defend the goal better.”

By the end of the game, Inter Miami had eight shots on target, while Minnesota had just one, the Amarilla goal.

The loss marks the first since Minnesota announced Heath’s two-year contract extension through 2024 on Thursday. The defeat also adds to a 1-6-1 stretch over the Loons’ last eight games, including Saturday night.

Heath said on Wednesday that the goal was to come away with four points in this road trip at Inter Miami on Saturday and on Wednesday at L.A. Galaxy. With the loss to Inter Miami, that goal is no longer possible.

The Loons must keep looking forward to get back on track and into playoff contention. After the loss on Saturday, Minnesota sits 11th in the Western Conference Standings, five points outside of the seventh spot, the cutoff for the playoffs.

“The good thing is that it’s a quick turnaround,” Boxall said. “Not quite looking ahead to L.A. just yet, we still need to process this game and figure out what we need to address, because that should be three points we’re taking home tonight.”

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

Puffy white clouds filled the blue skies above Target Field and sunlight bounced off buildings that make up the Minneapolis skyline. It was the kind of summer night at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about throughout the long winter months.

It was the perfect night at Target Field and the hometown team, well, they were nearly perfect, too. Twins pitchers gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Target Field.

A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early on that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed that up with his first triple since 2019.

After missing time this week after his knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second (30 ft/sec is elite) on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest a couple times, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.

While the Twins left Buxton on third, they added on throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall, bringing home Max Kepler — who walked three times in the game — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.

All that offense came in support of Chris Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing.  Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.

His start was followed by a scoreless inning each from Jharel Cotton and Griffin Jax and two from Tyler Thornburg. Twins pitchers have now thrown two shutouts in their past three games, and in Friday’s loss, they gave up just one run.

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.

1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.

1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.

May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.

1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.

Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.

June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.

1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.

1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.

2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state.

June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.

June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.

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