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Royce Lewis didn’t realize his latest homer for the Twins made a large section of videoboard go dark

 The Associated Press  |    Jun 20th, 2024 1:18am EDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Royce Lewis noticed the large section of the ribbon board above left field that went blank in the middle of the game and figured the people in charge of ballpark operations for the Minnesota Twins were frustrated by the malfunction on Wednesday night.

As it turned out, Lewis — with his eighth home run in 14 games — was the culprit.

“If I had to pay for that, that would be a lot,” he said sheepishly. “Hopefully not.”

The Twins had a game to play, of course, a tight one that tilted toward the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th inning on, coincidentally, a throwing error by Lewis that allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 3-2 decision. They didn’t realize the correlation between the homer and the outage.

“I had no idea it was from me, no,” said Lewis, who has the most home runs in Twins history in a player’s first 14 games of a season. “It’s funny, I feel it off the bat now, and I have a good idea that it’s probably gone. I’m just looking at my teammates to amp them up and get them going. I think they love it just as much as I do now, so just trying to get the boys going.”

This one wasn’t quite Roy Hobbs busting the light bulbs by homering in his last at-bat in the movie “The Natural,” but the videoboard-breaker was yet another highlight to add to the long list of them for the ebullient first overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Lewis, who went 3 for 4 with a walk and is batting .380 with a .439 on-base percentage and a .900 slugging percentage this season, has hit 29 homers with 74 RBIs in 90 career major league games including the playoffs.

With an exit velocity measured at 108.7 mph off a 2-2 cutter from Rays right-hander Taj Bradley, this one ricocheted off the ribbon board that fronts the second deck above left field. Seconds later, a long section of LED lights used to depict the rotating advertisements went dark. The red Budweiser logos that were up at the time wound up with a blank black splotch, as did the rest of the ads that followed.

“When he finds the barrel, you hear that kind of piercing snap,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He finds the barrel more often than most and when it leaves the bat, a lot of the time there’s not really a question. You feel pretty good about it as it’s leaving the bat. It was another good swing by him. He’s having a lot of very meaningful at-bats. He’s doing a lot of very, very positive things for us at the plate right now. We’ve seen that a lot from him already in the couple weeks he’s been playing, and I keep saying it: ‘More to come.’ There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be more to come.”

Lewis stopped an 0-for-7 skid with a single in the first inning.

“I don’t do that slump thing,” he said, recalling a conversation earlier in the day with teammate Pablo López. “That’s not a real thing for me.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

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The Associated Press