Byron Buxton gives wild-card hopeful Twins second straight walk-off win

Thursday's game had a chance to be a real heartbreaker for the Minnesota Twins, who are fighting for a wild-card spot.

Matt Belisle, who has stepped in as closer since Brandon Kintzler was traded away, blew the save Thursday when he allowed a game-tying home run to Justin Smoak. That never feels good.

Fortunately, second-half breakout star Byron Buxton wiped that all away with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning (MIN 3, TOR 2). Buxton cranked it into the left field second deck at Target Field. To the action footage:

That is the second straight walk-off win for the Twins -- Eddie Rosario hit a walk-off homer Wednesday -- and their third walk-off win in their last seven home games. Minnesota now has baseball's second best record since August 6 at 25-13. Only the Indians (duh) are better. They're 32-7.

As for Buxton, the walk-off home run was 15th home run of the season. He is now hitting .253/.315/.420 on the year overall, though this has been a tale of two seasons for Buxton. To wit:

  • First 78 games: .195/.272/.280 with four home runs with 31.8 percent strikeout rate
  • Last 48 games: .333/.370/.614 with 11 home runs and 16.3 percent strikeout rate

The last few years have been tough for Buxton overall, and when he got off to another slow start this year, more than a few folks were declaring him a bust. That was inevitable. 

This kid is 23 years old though. He won't turn 24 until December. He's an elite athlete with incredible natural talent who was baseball's top ranking prospect a few years ago. You don't ever want to give up on a player this talented too soon. Buxton is really starting to reward the Twins for sticking with him.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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