The Minnesota Twins were not sure if they were going to have standout rookie Royce Lewis in the lineup for Tuesday’s American League wild-card game against the Toronto Blue Jays as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.
Not only was he in the lineup batting third, he also opened the game by slugging a pair of home runs in his first two at-bats.
Here is a look at his first home run to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
He followed that up with a solo shot in the third inning.
Anytime you hit two home runs in a playoff game it is a big deal, especially as a rookie. He is just the second Twins rookie to ever homer twice in a playoff game and the first to do so in more than 30 years.
But what makes this performance stand out even more is the way Lewis talked about his situation leading up to the game.
His hamstring injury is limiting him to designated hitter duties, and there was some concern over how well he would actually be able to run the bases. When it was brought to Lewis’ attention that if he simply kept hitting home runs, he could just take a casual jog around the bases and not have to worry about running.
His response was to mention Kirk Gibson’s famous home run from the 1988 World Series when he hobbled off the bench and hit a walk-off home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“That would be great,” Lewis said. “I’ve thought of Kirk Gibson a few times. Maybe that would be like a pinch-hit opportunity. Hopefully, I’m good enough to make the lineup, the roster and we’ll go from there.”
He definitely made the lineup and he also made quite an impact.
Lewis was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft and got his first real taste of MLB action this season. He homered 15 times in only 58 regular-season games. That is a 41-homer pace over 162 games. He has not slowed down to start the postseason.