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Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Vargas knew exactly what to look for -- and 0-2 fastball

    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 changes 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.”

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    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.

With Kepler out sick, Adrianza gets another outfield start for Twins

    CHICAGO — Max Kepler ate something that made him sick, or came down with a late-summer flu bug. Whatever the cause, the Twins outfielder “didn’t have a really good night, [and] struggled a bit this morning,” according to manager Paul Molitor, and didn’t come to the ballpark with his teammates.

    Molitor is hopeful that Kepler will feel better as the evening goes along and eventually comes to Guaranteed Rate Park. Perhaps he’ll even be available to pinch-hit or play the outfield late in the game. But Molitor is proceeding as though he’s out for the night.

    That means utility infielder Ehire Adrianza will play left field tonight, with Eddie Rosario moving across the outfield to Kepler’s usual spot in right. Molitor said he considered Mitch Garver, who has a half-dozen games of experience in the outfield at Triple-A, and Chris Gimenez, who has played out there a handful of times this season. But “Adrianza is a good athlete,” Molitor said. “Gimenez or Garver could go out and do a good job, but I’ll take the speed edge, as well as him just having really good hands.”

    With Kepler, Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman all sidelined, the Twins’ lineups are taking on some unique shapes. For instance: Jorge Polanco, who homered twice on Monday and is in the midst of the hottest streak of his career, moves into the third slot today, for the first time in his career. Similarly, Byron Buxton will bat fifth, becoming the 12th different Twin to occupy that spot in the starting lineup this year.

    “It’s something you want to be mindful and thoughtful about. Guys don’t know where they’re going to show up” in the lineup each day, Molitor said. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I think they’ve all been responding really well.”

    Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Polanco SS

Rosario RF

Buxton CF

Escobar 3B

Vargas DH

Castro C

Adrianza LF

 

Gibson RHP

 

WHITE SOX

 

L. Garcia LF

Moncada 2B

Abreu 1B

Delmonico DH

A. Garcia RF

Sanchez 3B

Anderson SS

Narvaez C

Engel CF

 

Giolito RHP