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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins to start Gee, Melville in Monday's doubleheader at Chicago

The Twins will use long man Dillon Gee on Monday as one of the starters in the doubleheader against the White Sox.

The other starter? Righthander Tim Melville.

Melville will be called up from Class AAA Rochester, where he is 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 games, 10 of them starts. Melville is well traveled, having pitched in Mexico during the winter and then for Long Island in the Independent Leagues before being signed by the Twins.

In doing so, the Twins decided not to call up lethander Stephen Gosalves, their top pitching prospect, to make the start. Gonsalves has made just two starts for Rochester since being promoted from Class AA Chattanooga. 

Melville, 27, is a former fourth round pick of the Royals who debuted for the Reds in 2016, giving up 11 runs in nine innings over three appearances.

The Twins have not yet determined if Melville will be the 26th man that day or will replace someone on the 25-man roster. The Twins and White Sox, thanks to Monday's double dip, will play five games in four days.

The crafty Zack Greinke is back to face his old foe in the Twins. This will be Greinke's first game against Minnesota since April 30, 2014 when he gave up an unearned run over six innings as the Dodgers won 6-4. Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Eduardo Escobar were in the starting lineup that day. Sam Fuld was in center field. wow. Kyle Gibson took the loss.

In 23 career appearances (19 starts), Greinke is 5-8 with a 4.50 ERA against the Twins. He's 1-3, 4.76 at Target Field. We know what Greinke does. He can think one step ahead of hitters, baffle them with slow breaking balls then rear back and throw 94 mph. He can be crafty, with outbursts of power.

"He seems to invent pitches out there sometimes," Joe Mauer said.

This is a big game for the Twins, coming off of last night's power display against the D-Backs. A good showing against Greinke not only allows them to think sweep on Sunday, they hold on to the second wild card spot.

It also would be a win against a quality opponent following their poor series against Cleveland. The mark of a good team is the ability to bounce back.

Speaking of bouncing back, that's what Jose Berrios needs to do after giving up five first-inning runs in each of his last two starts. The Twins did come back in one, beating the Rangers 6-5 at Target Field. And they almost did it again against Detroit, only to get walked off by Justin Upton.

But Berrios needs a clean first inning tonight to avoid giving Greinke an early lead to work with.

"I think when I have been out there I think my mind is right but I feel like I have been too passive," Berrios said. "I've noticed that. As a competitor, that is something you do not want to do. It's happens. It's baseball. Sometimes you are going to have bad starts. But I have noticed."

Will check back later with any updates. It's Twins Hall of Fame night here, as Michael Cuddyer will be inducted before the game. In fact, the first pitch is scheduled to be thrown around 6:40 p.m. because of the ceremony. So plan accordingly.


D-Backs

David Peralta, LF
A.J. Pollock, CF
Jake Lamb, 3B
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
J.D. Martinez, RF
Daniel Descalzo, 2B
Brandon Drury, DH
Ketel Marte, SS
Jeff Mathis, C

Zack Greinke, RHP

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Byron Buxton, CF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Jason Castro, C

Jose Berrios, RHP

Postgame: Twins say they could see Sano's breakout game coming

    A handful of extras from an eventful night at Target Field:

    Miguel Sano had had a terrible week. He went 0-for-9 against the Indians and struck out six times, and he had driven in only four runs all month. But Paul Molitor noticed something Thursday night that gave him hope: Sano drew two walks.

    “He’s been working really hard, just trying to stay on the ball and recognize pitches a little bit better,” the Twins’ manager said. “When he’s getting walks, I know he’s getting close.”

    Sano walked again in the first inning Friday, and then his night got really interesting. In the fifth inning, Sano inside-outed a pitch to right field for a single, and though he was quickly thrown out on a baserunning error — he ran through coach Gene Glynn’s stop sign on Eddie Rosario’s double and stopped halfway to the plate — it was another good sign.

    Byron Buxton, in fact, said he predicted to Sano that he would break out of his slump with a two-homer game Friday.

    Then came the seventh inning, and reliever David Hernandez’s first pitch: A slider that Sano drove to the second deck in deep left-center, 452 feet away. An inning later, facing Silvino Bracho, Sano outdid himself, cracking a pitch to the third deck, directly above the bullpens, estimated at 474 feet.

    “Miggy’s homers,” Molitor understated, “were extremely loud.”

    Sano wasn’t the only home run hitter, of course. Max Kepler connected on his sixth in the past eight days, and Eduardo Escobar hit his 11th of the season, just one shy of his career high. Brian Dozier connected on a long down-the-line shot into the upper deck that tied him with Michael Cuddyer, who was in the stadium watching the game, for 10th place on the Twins’ career list with 141. And Byron Buxton had the night’s most memorable homer, an inside-the-park blow that took him only 13.85 seconds to complete.

    “Just the fact that [Buxton] is contributing the way he is offensively, it’s been a big lift for us.,” Molitor said. “That energizes everybody in the ballpark, including in our dugout.”

XXX

    Trevor Hildenberger arrived on the mound with nobody out in the seventh inning, runners on first and second base, and the heart of Arizona’s lineup coming to the plate. His assignment: Protect the Twins’ 4-3 lead.

    “Yeah, it was intense,” the sidearm reliever said. “It was like the Justin Upton situation Sunday,” when he earned his first career save.

    Hildenberger came through again, and he needed only two pitches to do it. A.J. Pollock was at the plate, and the Twins weren’t certain what he would do.

    “I didn’t know if he was going to bunt there, so we put on the bunt play and he took the first pitch,” Hildenberger said. “So we thought, ‘I don’t think he’s going to bunt.’ And I went with the sinker, trying to get a ground ball.”

    He did, a one-hopper right back to the mound.

    “I take pride in fielding my position,” the rookie said. “I don’t remember exactly where it was. All I remember was catching the ball, turning and throwing.”

    He turned the pitch into a double play, and Molitor removed him in favor of lefthander Taylor Rogers, who retired Jake Lamb on a popup.

XXX

    — Eddie Rosario smacked two doubles and a single, extending his hitting streak to eight games, but was hardly mentioned among all the other offense. The left fielder is batting .450 (18-for-40) over his last 10 games.

    — Byron Buxton’s 13.85-second trip around the bases is the fastest inside-the-park home run of the three-year StatCast era; there have been 30 such homers since the start of 2015, when the measuring system was installed, including one by Brian Dozier in April. So whose record did Buxton break? His own, of course: Buxton was timed at 14.05 seconds during his inside-the-park home run in Chicago last October, in the 2016 season’s final game. By coincidence, Miguel Sano hit a tape-measure home run in that game, too.