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Chris Paddack stellar in Twins’ win over Rockies

The results may not have been there in his last start — he gave up seven runs to the New York Yankees — but Chris Paddack knew the stuff was. His velocity had crept up after working on some mechanical changes, and Paddack was excited about the changes.

Monday, the stuff was up once again, and this time, the results followed. Paddack took a scoreless outing into the seventh inning in the Twins’ 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies in the series opener at Target Field.

“This whole week I just told myself to continue to stay on the gas. Everything has been sharp. My velo is back, my stuff is in a good spot,” Paddack said. “I just felt like myself out there tonight. It was fun. I was able to get that emotion back that I feel like I hadn’t had the past couple starts.”

Paddack’s velocity touched 97.6 mph on a first-inning strikeout of Ryan McMahon, a good indicator of what was to come. His fastball velocity averaged 95.2, nearly two mph harder than his average this season.

And the Rockies (23-43) could do little against him all night.

Though his night started by allowing a pair of hits, a double play helped him emerge from the first inning unscored upon. He allowed four more hits — six total — but no baserunner advanced past first base after the first.

The mechanical tweaks he spoke of that allowed his stuff to play up had to do with using his “lower half correctly and not just all arm,” Paddack said.

“The last two starts, the way the ball is leaving the hand, really it’s different than it was earlier in the year,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The whole delivery is kind of working together right now. It looks explosive, and the ball is really flying out.

His improved stuff helped carry him through 6⅓ innings before making way for Steven Okert, who retired the final two batters of the seventh. Griffin Jax followed with a dominant, three-strikeout eighth before Minnesota, which had been playing with a lead for much of the night, broke the game open.

The Twins, who scored earlier on Christian Vázquez’s sacrifice fly that followed a Manuel Margot double, and a Carlos Correa RBI double, put up three runs in the eighth.

Vázquez led off with a double and eventually came around to score on a Trevor Larnach sacrifice fly. Just a few batters later, Royce Lewis, in his Target Field season debut, crushed a curveball left over the heart of the plate to push the game out of reach.

“It’s impressive, but nothing that would shock you at this point. He’s a very dangerous hitter,” Baldelli said of Lewis. “You feel like every swing, something good could happen for your team, and that’s really what you’re looking for. It’s not really normal.”

Briefly

The Twins will call up Louie Varland to start Tuesday’s game, pushing all their starters back a day to give them rest during a stretch in which the team is playing 13 games in as many days. To make room on the roster, they are optioning reliever Diego Castillo.

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