CHICAGO — A couple of extras from the Twins’ favorite launching pad, where they’ve bashed eight home runs in two nights:
Kennys Vargas had faced Lucas Giolito a few times before, during his various stints in Triple-A, so he had an idea of what to look for. And when he swung at a pair of change-ups to open his second at-bat on Tuesday, missing a low one and fouling off one in the middle, he believed he knew what was coming next.
“He threw me two off-speeds in a row, so I was expecting a fastball. I didn’t think he would throw me three off-speed pitches,” Vargas explained. In his previous at-bat, Giolito threw four straight 93-mph fastballs on the inside part of the plate, “so I expected that pitch again.”
He got it, and the ball traveled more than 400 feet before coming down. It was Vargas’ ninth home run of the season, his first since July 23, and the first of his career on an 0-2 count. “I liked it,” he said with a smile. “Felt pretty good.”
It’s hard to believe Eddie Rosario went a solid month without a home run, from the last week of June to the last week of July. On Tuesday, Rosario crushed his seventh home run of August.
“It’s fun to watch Eddie play the game,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I think he’s playing as confidently for as long a stretch as we’ve seen. A bad at-bat doesn’t seem to particularly affect him.”
The home run came in the sixth inning of a 2-0 game. Joe Mauer led off with a double, and Jorge Polanco — who had homered in three straight games — moved him up with a sacrifice bunt, leaving it to Rosario to bring in another insurance run, perhaps with a fly ball.
“He tried to get the run in from third. You want to use the middle of the field” in that situation, Molitor said. “Not only did he get the run in, he got himself in,” with a home run to straightaway center, his 18th of the season.