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Buxton homers twice as Twins run past Nationals 10-0 to snap skid

WASHINGTON – Byron Buxton didn't hide his emotion when he saw his second-inning solo homer clear the wall in right-center field Tuesday night, celebrating with a big fist pump and a long yell.

It counted as only one run and an early lead on the scoreboard. Buxton showed, for a reeling Twins lineup, it meant a lot more.

"Something needed to change," said Buxton, who homered again in the fifth inning, a two-run blast to center. The Twins offense finally showed signs of life in a 10-0 win over the Washington Nationals to end the team's season-worst seven-game losing streak.

The Twins, who scored only 12 runs over their past seven games, had the Rally Sausage they left behind in Minneapolis after they were swept by the New York Yankees mailed to the nation's capital. It made it to the visitor's clubhouse in a UPS box around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and it was immediately placed near the batting cage. It's only ridiculous if it doesn't work.

"That's our lucky sausage," said Buxton, who broke his previous vow not to touch the sausage. "We didn't have it in Cleveland, and things didn't go right. Getting it back was big. I guess I'm going to have to hop on the train. I done touched it now."

One day after manager Rocco Baldelli called out the team's offensive approach and players conducted a team meeting, the Twins delivered their highest run total in a game since May 11 by scoring two runs in five separate innings.

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Twins starter Joe Ryan, meanwhile, pitched seven scoreless innings to match his longest start of the season. He cut holes all over his undershirt to combat the humidity, an idea he picked up from long-distance runner Jim Walmsley, and he permitted three hits and two walks. Nobody reached third base against him.

The win notched Baldelli's 400th managerial victory. Players celebrated by taking a shot of scotch.

"I don't know what we drunk, but it was brutal," Buxton said. "Absolutely brutal. I had to get a little water. But it was good. I've known now for the last seven days. Just knowing little stuff like that, you put that added pressure on you because you want to get him that win so bad."

BOXSCORE: Twins 10, Nationals 0

All nine Twins starters reached base at least once. Buxton homered in the second inning on a cutter from Nationals lefthander Patrick Corbin, and he crushed a sinker to center in the fifth inning. It was the 11th multi-homer game in his career. There wasn't as much fiery emotion on his second trip around the bases, but he broke into a smile as he rounded third base, and he laughed as he ran down the third base line.

"We had a good meeting [Monday], and I think we all came in with good energy," said Ryan, who retired 15 of his first 17 batters. "Everyone in the dugout was fired up all day. It was awesome."

Jose Miranda hammered an elevated fastball into the left-field seats for a two-run homer in the third inning. Willi Castro hit a two-run homer off reliever Jacob Barnes in the seventh. Christian Vázquez even singled in the fourth inning, stopping his 0-for-27 slump, the longest hitless streak by a Twins batter this season.

"We let pitches go that were competitive, but not pitches we want to swing at and offer at, and then we hammered the ones that you want," Baldelli said. "It's not always going to be clean like that, but when it is, it feels good."

After a players-only team meeting and the return of the Rally Sausage, what was the biggest thing that changed?

"We hit," Buxton said. "That's it."