MINNEAPOLIS – Obviously, this is what positive change looks like on average.
Saturday’s buzzer seemed to break the seal, as the Twins threw baseballs at each end and end on Sunday. Minnesota exploded for a seven-run third inning and another seven-run eighth inning with a 16-3 victory to build some much-needed offensive momentum ahead of a big road series against the Dodgers.
The Twins’ 29-game hitting streak against the Cubs at Target Field, the most since the ballpark opened in 2010, awakened the slumbering bats in record-breaking fashion. Both marked season highs, with all nine members of the starting lineup recording at least one touchdown.
“Yesterday, obviously, it’s just confidence,” left fielder Joey Gallo said of the Twins’ 11-1 victory Saturday. “Everybody feels good. Everybody is reaching. Everybody is driving the ball. You come in today, and it’s like, ‘We’re going to win again.’
It was also promising that the Twins weren’t just hitting homers; They went on a long, two-out streak as 13 of the runs came in two outs. For the first time since June 13, 2017, they posted a pair of seven-run innings in a game.
With Minnesota’s starting rotation continuing to dominate, continued offensive breakthrough could be in store for this team. On Sunday, North St. Paul native Louie Varland — the Twins’ seventh starter — went a career-high 6 1/3 innings in another impressive Twins pitching depth.
And they all seem to be around the lineup, all at once, as if the Twin Killers are emerging from extended concussions.
“You go through ups and downs,” Gallo said. “We continued to believe in our guilt. We look at our lineup, we look at our club house, we have a good team. We can swing. Sometimes you are going to get results. “Sometimes you’re not.”
The coaching staff tried to shake things up by moving Gallo to the leadoff spot for the first time in his career, and he’s responded with back-to-back home runs — and they expect him to be just as good after Sunday’s game. He sprained his leg while running down the first-base line in the seventh inning.
After the Twins gave Byron Buxton the day off to start Saturday, he snapped an 0-for-26 skid in his first two at-bats since April 30 — both on hard liners at 111 mph and 94.7 mph, respectively.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said: “He was focused and ready and in a good mental position, even on days when he didn’t have any success.” But sometimes, a day off after they’ve been playing for a while can help some guys in some ways.
You can actually continue the line.
Nick Gordon got off to a slow start this season, but smashed three hard-hit balls, including an RBI double off the top of the center field wall. Jorge Polanco was in a 6-for-34 slump over the last two games before hitting a homer, double and three walks. Christian Vazquez went 2-for-28 in his first multi-hit game since April 27.
And Trevor Larnach, in his second game back in the majors, crushed a three-run homer to right field off Marcus Stroman’s slider, having struggled with speed pitches for most of his career, and especially with the ball. of the month.
“I think I got it after I got off,” Larnach said. “And while there is some commitment there, I don’t think there is anything more. It was like taking a couple of days for my body and then just focusing on what I needed.
After the first game of the series, the Twins lamented the fact that they felt they were hitting the ball hard — but still missing opportunities and making plays — the same close games over and over again. Maybe a couple blowout wins will open the door for more.
“You don’t want to be the guy that goes 0-for-5 and everybody’s booing,” Gallo said. “You feel a sense of responsibility: ‘I want to do my part.’ That’s how the finals went.”