Kennys Vargas’ first career homer powers Twins over Padres

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2014 - 11:39 AM

Target Field needed an energy boost and the young slugger provided one with a 388-foot blast in the sixth inning.

Kennys Vargas took early batting practice with his teammates Tuesday, then headed out to the outfield to take his turn catching fly balls. One problem, though.

He wasn’t wearing a glove.

“We’re going to already have a talk,” Gardenhire said with a laugh. “He’s carrying a bat out there in the outfield instead of a glove. I didn’t say anything because I want him to enjoy himself. ... But that does tell you about what he likes to do most.”

Come to think of it, the Twins might want to let Vargas carry that bat with him anywhere he likes, because he seems to know how to use it. The huge rookie used it to smash a Jesse Hahn pitch into the right-field stands on Tuesday, delivering three runs and a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Vargas’ first career home run ended up in a fan’s glove 388 feet from home plate, and sparked a long and loud ovation for the gregarious Puerto Rican slugger. It also marked the return of a recent rarity at Target Field: the three-run homer. Not since Oswaldo Arcia connected against the Brewers on June 4 had the Twins scored three runs on a single swing of the bat in their home park.

It was a nice moment for a rookie, and a heartening one for the Twins, who are trying to find ways to make their final two months relevant. Seeing whether the 275-pound switch-hitter can contribute at the major league level, after skipping Class AAA, is one way to do it.

So is helping Phil Hughes to keep gaining confidence he can be a rotation cornerstone, and the righthander took another step in that direction on Tuesday by holding the Padres to one run and seven hits over seven inning, his best start in a month. Hughes, who had lost three straight decisions to drop his record to 10-8, caught San Diego’s leadoff hitter looking at strike three in each of the first four innings, and he finished his night with a season-high nine strikeouts.

Hughes’ only blemish: a sinker that didn’t sink to Yonder Alonso in the fifth inning, a pitch that ended up in the upper deck stands in right-center field. But it was a solo shot, the first one Hughes has allowed since July 19, and merely set up Vargas’ heroics later.

Not that the Twins were convinced that any heroics were coming, not against another impressive rookie. Padres righthander Jesse Hahn, who had posted a 7-2 record and 2.01 ERA this season, held the Twins to two hits through the first five innings, and there was no reason to think he couldn’t make the 1-0 lead that Alonso provided hold up. He hasn’t allowed a home run since his debut on June 3, after all, a span of 55 consecutive innings.

But after Brian Dozier clubbed a one-out double, Trevor Plouffe walked, and Josh Willingham struck out, Vargas seemed to almost jump at a 1-0 pitch from Hahn. It cleared the granite overhang in right field practically before he could get out of the batter’s box, making the rookie just the eighth Twin ever to hit his first career home run in his first home game.

The Twins complete the brief homestand Wednesday afternoon against the Padres, with San Diego native Kevin Correia on the mound, then head to the West Coast for a four-game series with Oakland.

  • related content

  • Mauer, Nolasco are box-office boost in Iowa

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    General Manager Doug Nelson estimated Tuesday’s crowd at 4,300 fans, more than double the expected attendance before Mauer’s appearance was announced.

  • Photo gallery: Mauer, Nolasco rehab injuries in Iowa

    Tuesday August 5, 2014

    First baseman Joe Mauer and pitcher Ricky Nolasco are in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, playing with the Class A Kernels...

  • New Twins outfielder Schafer's speed turns heads

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    Jordan Schafer, who had one single in July for the Braves, lined a fastball to right field in his first at-bat as a Twin on Tuesday night. Then he did...

  • Video: Schafer learning Target Field's outfield

    Tuesday August 5, 2014

    New Twins outfielder Jordan Schafer says the ankle he broke last year is fine now. He spent time Tuesday...

  • Postgame: Vargas happy with his defense, too

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    Hughes suffered split fingernail, but should be fine; Schafer's debut is an encouraging one

  • Chart: How Mauer, Nolasco did in Cedar Rapids

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    The newest KernelsThe Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels’ lineup Tuesday night wasn’t all young Class A ballplayers still looking for their...

  • Tuesday's Twins-San Diego game recap

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    IMPACT PLAYERKennys Vargas, TwinsHis first career home run provided all the offense the Twins needed.BY THE NUMBERS55 Innings without allowing...

  • Even in fourth straight down year, Twins doing decent ratings on FSN

    Everything with the Twins these days is, we suppose, relative. They are on pace to win 73 or 74 games...

  • The Padres' Everth Cabrera, left, beat the throw to Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas during a pickoff attempt in the seventh inning Tuesday. Vargas hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning as the Twins won 3-1.

  • Twins starter Phil Hughes threw six innings of one-run ball against the Padres on Tuesday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 6:00 PM
Orlando
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 12:30 PM
Youngstown St
Jackson State 1:00 PM
Tulane
Siena 5:00 PM
Radford
Stillman 6:00 PM
Alabama
Case Western Reserve 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Niagara 6:00 PM
Buffalo
SD Christian 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Concordia (MI) 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Kent State
Central Penn College 6:00 PM
Liberty
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Mercer
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Morehead State
Northern Ariz 6:00 PM
Norfolk State
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
St Johns
Clemson 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Tennessee
Washington-MD 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Ohio Valley 10:00 AM
Youngstown St
East Tenn St 10:30 AM
UNC-Wilmington
Louisiana 11:00 AM
Alcorn State
Cal-Irvine 11:00 AM
Purdue
Campbell 12:00 PM
Stetson
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Denver 1:30 PM
Wright State
Texas State 2:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Blue Mountain 2:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Albany 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
TX-San Antonio 3:00 PM
Houston
Yale 3:30 PM
Bucknell
Northern Colorado 3:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Belmont 4:00 PM
Mercer
Massachusetts 4:00 PM
Georgia State
George Mason 4:05 PM
Winthrop
Portland State 4:30 PM
Princeton
UCLA 5:00 PM
Samford
Mobile 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Nicholls 5:30 PM
Texas Tech
Toledo 5:30 PM
Nevada
UMass Lowell 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
Virginia
McNeese State 6:00 PM
Rice
McMurry 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
NJIT 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
(6) North Carolina 6:00 PM
Maine
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Siena 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Longwood 6:00 PM
Clemson
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Florida State
(19) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
La Salle
Canisius 6:00 PM
Michigan
Davidson 6:00 PM
NC State
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Delaware
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close