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Everyone in the Twins clubhouse was talking about what Alex Kirilloff did in the eighth inning Saturday, what a thrill it was to witness, how unusual and memorable the game was because of it.

No, not the three-run homer he golfed into the Rangers bullpen, the game-winning runs he drove in or the two consecutive days of heroics Kirilloff has provided. This was even rarer, apparently.

"He had a big smile!" exclaimed Max Kepler.

"You see the smile on his face?" noted an amazed Chris Paddack.

"It's unusual when he cracks a smile, so everyone kind of embraces it and rolls with it," said bench coach Jayce Tingler. "Truly, everybody is just thrilled for him."

And for themselves. Kirilloff's opposite-field homer, off a shoe-high slider from Texas reliever David Robertson, delivered the Twins' fourth victory in a row, 5-3 at Target Field.

It also sent the defending World Series champions to their 12th loss in their past 14 games.

"Sitting on two or three runs, you're asking for trouble," shrugged Texas manager Bruce Bochy, whose team hasn't scored more than four runs in any game for more than two weeks. "We're getting a lot of empty at-bats and it doesn't work. We've got to get some guys going."

Sound familiar, Twins fans? Those words could have been directed at Kirilloff, who went 4-for-41 over the previous three weeks. But after breaking a tie with a homer pulled to right on Friday, he drove an offspeed pitch to left-center on Saturday — a sure sign, Kirilloff believes, that his slump may be in the past.

"Any time you're driving the ball to any part of the park, there are good things to take from that. So being able to drive it to right field and left-center, it feels good," Kirilloff said. "And when you go through a stretch of hitting balls hard [but] right at people, you know that it takes a turn at some point."

Saturday's game took a turn on Paddack, the Twins starting pitcher who was handed a first-inning lead on Ryan Jeffers' bases-loaded walk, and seemed to be in control. But Adolis García drove in the tying run with a double in the fourth inning, and Ezequiel Duran smacked a changeup into the upper deck in left field an inning later. When reliever Kody Funderburk gave up an RBI double to Leody Taveras, it seemed the Twins' winning streak might be ending.

But Kirilloff led off the seventh inning with a line-drive single and eventually scored on Carlos Correa's sacrifice fly, pulling the Twins within 3-2.

And in the eighth, Kepler, playing his 1,000th career game, singled and Byron Buxton walked. With one out, Kirilloff came to bat against Robertson, just hoping to drive in the tying run.

He did plenty more than that, and when the ball landed, Kirilloff broke into a smile as he reached second base.

BOXSCORE: Twins 5, Texas 3

"Seeing Buck and Kep at home plate, just pumped up, everyone pumped up, I got pumped up. So it was fun," Kirilloff said, smiling again at the memory. "It was just letting out some energy. Everyone was pumped, so it was exciting."

The celebration continued in the dugout, and later in the clubhouse.

"You saw the team's reaction. Nobody is pulling harder for a better guy," Tingler said. "Knowing how much he's been working, and certainly been showing signs of coming out of it — for him to deliver the big one there was huge."