There are a lot of elements to keep opponents from stealing bases from how pitchers hold the ball, their time to the plate and the catcher's arm.

The Twins have a special weapon: Carlos Correa's tags.

Correa made a game-changing tag in the ninth inning Tuesday, delivering a swift, no-look tag when Kansas City Royals pinch-runner Dairon Blanco attempted to swipe second base.

"He's creating outs with his glove hand," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It's not easy to do and it's pretty special."

Baldelli put Correa in a tier with Detroit's Javier Báez as the best two shortstops at applying tags. It's a skill that requires assessing where the runner wants to slide, letting the ball travel as long as possible and then finding the runner's body without looking.

Báez is long known for his incredible tags and Correa started incorporating the one he showed Tuesday into his daily defensive drills this spring.

"It's become part of my routine, especially this year with the new rules," said Correa, referring to fielders providing a clear path to sliding baserunners to avoid obstruction calls. "I took it more serious in terms of I couldn't block the base, so I had to look for ways to complete the out. I came up with that in my mind that it was the best way to go about it. We're going to do it if it keeps working."

Said Baldelli: "He spent time on those details. He's worked hard on these things, and he knows how important they are."

Duran finds top speed

Jhoan Duran admits his own frustration affected the way he pitched during the Twins' last road trip.

He allowed a homer in three straight appearances, all on off-speed pitches. The Twins, at the time, were mired in a seven-game losing streak. He regrets what he now calls a "stupid" comment when he criticized pitching coach Pete Maki for calling for a first-pitch curveball that turned into a walk-off homer, acknowledging he could've shook off to a fastball.

"I did something wrong with my mechanics, and with my mentality, too," Duran said. "I know in Cleveland, I said something stupid. [Struggles are] going to happen again, I know that, but I can be better right now."

After Duran gave up a homer in a third straight outing last week, he had a long postgame chat with Pablo López about his pitching mechanics.

"We were talking about making sure your off-speeds are quality when it comes to everything looking the same," López said. "He throws 104 mph and his off-speed pitches are devastating. Nobody should be hitting them, but position players get paid a lot of money to hit baseballs, too. He was just like, 'I feel like my conviction was not 100% there. When you throw your best spin, what do you feel like?'"

Duran, to his credit, is starting to look more like himself. He pitched four times in the first five days of the homestand with four saves, permitting four hits and one unearned run in 3⅓ innings.

He threw his fastest pitch of the season Tuesday — 103.1 mph — to induce a game-ending groundout.

"In that situation, I got more angry because I don't want to allow that run to come in," said Duran, who stranded a runner at third base. "I got two outs, and I need to put that guy out."

Should he try pitching angry more often?

"Maybe, yeah," said Duran, laughing. "I try, yeah."


* Royce Lewis had a scheduled off day on his rehab assignment Wednesday as the Class AAA St. Paul Saints earned a 5-0 road win over the Rochester Red Wings. Yunior Severino hit a three-run homer in the first inning, his eighth home run of the season.

* TNT basketball broadcasters Kevin Harlan, Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Miller attended Wednesday's game.