Max Kepler’s was the fastest. Jake Cave’s was the longest. But Eddie Rosario’s home run Sunday was the most critical.
Maybe the most unlikely, too.
“I don’t know if [Rosario] was guessing neck-high fastball,” Twins manager Paul Molitor joked about the 0-2 pitch from Alex Wilson that wasn’t in the strike zone and didn’t stay in the park, “but he guessed right.”
The Twins added three more home runs to their weekend power splurge, an unexpected contagion that was fun for players and fans alike. Most important, though, is that Rosario’s long fly ball carried just beyond the flower beds above Target Field’s right-field wall, an eighth-inning blast that broke a tie and earned the Twins their fifth victory in six games, 5-4 over the Tigers.
“Everybody is happy when they’re hitting homers,” Rosario said after collecting his team-high 22nd. “It’s good. All three outfielders hit homers today.”
The Twins bashed 13 baseballs out of the park in four games with Detroit, with nine different players doing the damage, an audacious display for a team that ranks 12th in the AL in long balls. And they spread them out over the weekend, launching at least three in all four games.
That’s the longest streak of three-homer games in Twins history, tying a Brian Dozier-fueled stretch of four games from Sept. 3-6, 2016. Dozier is gone now, but the Twins’ power apparently isn’t.
“When you look up and down [the lineup], there are threats throughout,” Molitor said. “It’s been a while for Jake, but he’s been taking good at-bats. [Kepler], too, just kind of searching for consistency, and the home run is a big contribution.”
And Rosario’s tiebreaker, coming after he swung and missed at two previous fastballs? “The odds were in his favor,” Molitor deadpanned. “If you swing at that pitch often enough, you can hit it once in a while.”
That’s the point, Rosario said with a smile. “He was pitching up, so I wanted to be more short. The second strike was up, so I thought, this guy is going to go up again,” he said. “It’s not my first time doing it.”
The Twins scored a pair of runs in the second inning via a more mundane route, putting together a rally consisting of two singles, Rosario’s sacrifice fly and a run-scoring double by Jorge Polanco. But the rest of the day for the Twins offense amounted to waiting for launch.
They needed it too, since Jake Odorizzi, who retired 15 of the first 18 hitters he faced, departed with the bases loaded an no outs in the sixth, and all three scored. Home runs, however, will cover up a lot of shortcomings.
Kepler delivered first, smacking a high 3-2 fastball from Zac Reininger into the first row in right-center, a ball that so surprised him by carrying so far, Kepler was nearly to second base before umpire Laz Diaz signaled it was gone.
Two batters later, Cave unloaded on another 3-2 pitch from Reininger, blasting it to rarified territory. The ball landed in the Catch club above the batter’s eye in center field, traveling an estimated 450 feet before interrupting a patron’s lunch. Cave is the fourth player to reach Catch, joining Jim Thome in 2010 (before the club had been created), ByungHo Park in 2016 and Miguel Sano in 2017.
“That’s pretty cool, to be with guys that have power like them,” said Cave, who hadn’t homered in two weeks. “That’s pretty neat.”