Patrick Reusse
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There were 40,000 people assembled for sports events within a two-minute walk on Friday night in downtown Minneapolis.

The action started at 6:10 p.m. at Target Field with the Twins facing the World Series champion Texas Rangers. It concluded four hours later in another Target Center whiteout as the Timberwolves faced the Dallas Mavericks.

Friday's outcomes came by the narrowest of margins, with the Twins defeating the cool-hitting Rangers 3-2 and the Timberwolves falling 109-108 to the much-warmer Mavericks.

And when the events concluded, it appeared the Twins might have regained their closer after a rough week and the Wolves had lost theirs, after he had spent weeks engulfed in accolades.

Jhoan Duran surrendered home runs in three straight appearances on a road trip. There was enough frustration after the second of those that he criticized his bosses for having pitching coach Pete Maki tell him to throw an off-speed pitch that was hit by Cleveland's Will Brennan for a game-winning home run.

The Twins were back home Friday, there was a one-run lead in the ninth, the entrance music and light show took place and Duran faced four batters to get a fifth save.

Across the plaza, the Wolves were leading 108-106, Anthony Edwards threw away a pass with 12 seconds remaining, the amazing Luka Doncic hit a three and our fellas would be flying off to Dallas down 2-0 in the Western Conference finals.

Which isn't to put it all on Ant because the two other hugely compensated Wolves, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, also were important elements in the fourth-quarter defeat.

OK, not so much KAT, as he was sitting — perhaps for poor defense on Dallas' lobs and dunks.

There was much sadness in the skyway to Ramp A, as grumbling Wolves attendees mingled with Twins fans who had been invited to watch the end of the basketball game on the big scoreboard at Target Field.

And then Saturday arrived as a fine spring morning, and the Twins were giving away 10,000 Duran bobbleheads for the afternoon game with the Rangers, and that combo would produce only the third 30,000-plus crowd among 24 home games.

The Twins might have gone cheap this season, reducing payroll by roughly $30 million, but they definitely have upgraded their bobblehead game.

Press on the Duran bobblehead, and it lights up, and you get his entrance song.

The Twins have gone back to being challenged hittingwise since the New York Yankees came to town for a three-game sweep on May 14.

They continued that by needing a bases-loaded walk by Michael Lorenzen to Ryan Jeffers to get a run in the first inning.

That opportunity included Byron Buxton topping a ball 25 feet and beating Lorenzen's throw to first base by the margin of Usain Bolt winning the 100-meter in the Olympics.

"If you could do that every at-bat, you would bat 1.000," was a comment made to Buxton in the clubhouse.

Buxton: "It's a hit. We wound up with a run. I'll take it."

That was all the Twins had entering the seventh, trailing 3-1 against the defending champs, a team reeling with 11 losses in 13 games entering Saturday.

The Twins again managed only a single run from the bases loaded on a Carlos Correa sacrifice fly in the seventh.

That half-inning featured an umpire Laz Diaz gong show — first allowing the Rangers to spend six minutes waiting to decide if Lorenzen was OK physically to continue (he wasn't), then throwing out Texas manager Bruce Bochy in a dispute over Diaz's confused decision on an Edouard Julien foul tip.

The Twins were still down 3-2 into the eighth, and then came a moment they had envisioned coming more frequently since Alex Kirilloff made his big league debut in 2021.

Two on, one out in the eighth, and Kirilloff's lefthanded swing produced a drive to left-center that carried into the bullpen.

Twins, 5-3. And one night earlier, Kirilloff had broken a 2-2 tie with a long home run pulled to right.

"Those were great swings," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "You're never quite sure when they'll show up, but those were beautiful."

And here came the closer on his bobblehead day: bells, music, eight pitches, three outs, including three straight flames producing late swings from Jonah Heim to end the game.

"He was late before today," Duran said. "I was only using fastballs."

The Twins closer is back. The Wolves need the same Sunday, and with more desperation.