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Pat Sajak retired last week after hosting "Wheel of Fortune" for 41 years. It's unfortunate timing, since the natural candidate to succeed him is busy pitching for the Twins.

Pablo López began hosting his own version of the game Monday, though you don't have to solve a puzzle to win prizes. The rules are still being finalized, but for now, it works like this: After each Twins victory, López selects the player of the game and pitcher of the game. Those two players do rock/paper/scissors, and the winner gets to spin the Twins Wheel of Fortune.

The wheel, which when not in use is hidden under a cloth tarp in the vacant locker next to López's, is covered with several prizes that López purchased to reward his teammates.

The prizes — Chris Paddack won eye massagers in the wheel's debut after the Twins' 5-0 victory Monday night — aren't the point, though, López said. The point is to enjoy and celebrate the victories as a team.

"I've always said, it's much easier to dwell on the bad moments in this game than enjoy the good ones. So I decided to introduce our latest clubhouse shenanigan," López said. "It's for motivation, a spirit-lifter, for keeping things light. I'll keep it going, and if it helps us as a team, maybe it will become something bigger and better."

López's position as a clubhouse leader could hardly get much bigger and better in the eyes of his coaches and teammates.

"He's just unbelievable," bench coach Jayce Tingler said. "Like Pablo says, this game can beat you up, mentally, physically, emotionally. And a lot of times we don't celebrate the victories, the things that go right on the field. Anytime you can advance an idea like that, it's a great idea."

"I like it. He bought a bunch of cool prizes, some random stuff. But it's all fun," agreed utility man Kyle Farmer. "For sure, it helps. It's better to do things as a team than just sit at your locker. It kind of brings everyone together to end the day."

Avoiding strikeouts

The final Twin to bat in Monday's win over the Colorado Rockies, Carlos Correa, tipped a pitch out of the strike zone that would have been ball four. Instead, it was a strikeout.

Why is that notable? Because it was only the second strikeout by a Twin during the game, a rarity for a team that set a major league record for whiffs just last season. In fact, it was their first two-strikeout game since June 24, 2022, coincidentally the last time the Rockies visited Target Field. (Had Correa not struck out, it would have been their first one-strikeout game since Sept. 20, 2019, against the Kansas City Royals.)

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said he wasn't particularly surprised his team had such success putting the ball in play. That was the game plan against Rockies starter Dakota Hudson, a righthander who isn't particularly homer-prone and has only 36 strikeouts in 68 innings this year.

"We wanted to not get big. We wanted to use the whole field, line drives to the opposite field. It's the most effective way to attack" Hudson, Baldelli said.

"When you do that, you're going to strike out less. And Hudson is a guy who pitches to contact a lot of the time."

Jax helped Skenes

The Pirates didn't thank Griffin Jax when the Twins were in Pittsburgh last weekend, but maybe they should have. Jax played a small role in helping steer rookie pitcher Paul Skenes to the big leagues.

After two seasons at the Air Force Academy, where Jax played a decade ago, Skenes was considering transferring out of the academy. Had he stayed, he would have been obliged to serve a stint in the military, as Jax did. Former Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson, then at LSU, "gave me his phone number and said, 'Hey, I want this guy at my school,' " Jax said. "So I called him and we talked. He had some questions about what it was like trying to play [professionally] after graduation."

Jax's answer? "I was honest with him," the Twins reliever said. "I said, 'If you have any aspirations to play professional baseball, you probably should leave.' "

He did and had a sensational season, leading the Tigers to the College World Series championship and then becoming the first overall pick in the draft.

"Looks like he made the right decision," Jax said.

Saints edge Louisville

Brooks Lee went 2-for-4, scored and drove in a run as the St. Paul Saints beat the host Louisville Bats 3-2 on Tuesday night. Kody Funderburk earned the save in two innings of relief, striking out three.