There has nev­er been a Twins team quite like the 2019 squad un­der man­ag­er Rocco Baldelli and the front of­fice of Chief Base­ball Of­fi­cer Der­ek Falvey and Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Thad Lev­ine.

Af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing 10-in­ning loss to Seattle on Wednes­day night, the team got right back to work Thurs­day with a 10-5 victory over the Mari­ners to move back to 23 games over .500.

Nel­son Cruz went 3-for-4 with three RBI, two runs and his 12th hom­er, and he has been on fire since re­turn­ing to the line­up.

In eight games since re­turn­ing from a wrist in­ju­ry, Cruz is hit­ting .344 with five hom­ers and nine RBI in 32 at-bats. And the Twins con­tin­ue to roll.

They are on pace for 109 victories, which would easily top the pre­vi­ous fran­chise high of 102 in 1965, when they lost the World Series in seven games to the Dod­gers.

But just as im­pres­sive as their win total is the way they are doing it, by hit­ting a ton of home runs.

The team is on pace for 319 home runs. Their pre­vi­ous fran­chise high was 225 in 1963. They also have scored 404 runs on the season; last year they reached that number on July 13.

“I don’t think it has ever hap­pened be­fore,” Baldelli said a­bout the pow­er pro­duc­tion from his line­up. “So I don’t know if you can ex­pect some­thing like that. But I’ll say it a­gain: We have high ex­pec­ta­tions for our play­ers, and they have high ex­pec­ta­tions for them­selves. I don’t think any­thing that hap­pens on a daily ba­sis here, I don’t think it sur­pris­es them be­cause I think they be­lieve in what they’re doing.”

The 1963 club fea­tured some great power hit­ters. Har­mon Kill­e­brew led the ma­jor leagues with 45 hom­e runs, just beat­ing out NL stars Hank Aaron and Willie Mc­Co­vey, who had 44 a­piece. But Kill­e­brew did it in only 142 games com­pared to 161 for Aaron and 152 for Mc­Co­vey.

Bob Allison hit 35 hom­ers, Jimmie Hall 33 and Earl Bat­tey 26 for the 1963 Twins. They also had Don Mincher with 17 home runs, Rich Rol­lins with 16 and Vic Pow­er and Zoilo Versalles had 10.

While that club had eight hit­ters with at least 10 home runs, the club re­cord is 11 such hit­ters in 2016. But eight of those play­ers had between 10 and 12 homers.

Pow­er and op­tions

This year’s team should match that record. There re­al­ly is no com­par­i­son for the kind of pow­er the club is show­ing from all dif­fer­ent kinds of play­ers.

The Twins re­port­ed this week that they be­came the first team in MLB his­to­ry to have seven play­ers with 10-plus hom­ers in the first 70 games of a sea­son.

Eddie Ro­sa­ri­o leads the team with 19 hom­ers. Max Kep­ler has 16, C.J. Cron 15, Nelson Cruz and Jon­a­than Schoop 12 and Jorge Po­lan­co and Mitch Garv­er 10.

And with Byron Bux­ton with nine hom­ers, Ja­son Castro and Marwin Gon­za­lez with eight and Miguel Sano with six, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore the team has 11 play­ers with at least 10 home runs to match that 2016 record.

Baldelli said that early in the sea­son, one of the big­gest bene­fits for the Twins is how many dif­fer­ent line­ups they can play and still have pow­er threats all over the place.

“We have a lot of dif­fer­ent guys that can do a lot of dif­fer­ent things, and there’s a lot to fac­tor in when we make our line­ups. But I think we have an en­tire ros­ter of guys that can pro­duce for us and play well and come to­gether and get the job done,” he said. “I have nev­er been a fan of play­ing a cer­tain num­ber of guys and then hav­ing the rest of the guys you know sit most days. I en­joy get­ting guys in there, and I think the play­ers re­spond and they ac­tu­al­ly per­form bet­ter when that hap­pens.”

And it’s worth not­ing that the Twins have only played Sano for 19 games, and he is al­read­y prov­ing to be a big threat in the line­up.

Af­ter strug­gling last sea­son and hit­ting .199 with 13 hom­ers in 71 games, this year he is hit­ting .247 with six home runs in only 73 at-bats, which is the se­cond-most home runs per at-bat on the team, trail­ing only Garv­er, who has homered 10 times in 106 at-bats.

And while Baldelli said he wasn’t sur­prised at how quick­ly Sano has gotten up to speed af­ter his in­ju­ry, he has been im­pressed.

“We knew when he was going to be back, he was going to be ready. I think facing ma­jor league pitch­ing is some­times dif­fi­cult when you have been off for so long. So the qual­i­ty of the at-bats, some of the pitch­es he has been tak­ing and some of the swings he has had, they have been very, very im­pres­sive, from my per­spec­tive.”

The Twins and Mari­ners have been in a back-and-forth race for the MLB team home run lead, but Se­at­tle has played five more games than the Twins.

When it comes to the num­ber of at-bats per home run, the Twins are clear­ly the best in base­ball. They hit one out of the park every 17.6 at-bats, com­pared to Seattle’s mark of 19.3 and Milwaukee’s 19.6.

The Twins lead the AL Cen­tral by 11 games with a huge week­end of sold out games com­ing up against Kan­sas City as the team pre­pares to re­tire Joe Mau­er’s num­ber.

This is the most ex­cite­ment around the Twins since their open­ing sea­son at Target Field nine years ago.


• It’s amaz­ing to think that the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins will rank only fifth in the league with $28 mil­lion in sal­a­ry for 2019, trail­ing fellow quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger of Pitts­burgh ($45 mil­lion), Matt Ryan of Atlan­ta ($44.75 mil­lion), Rus­sell Wil­son of Se­at­tle ($35 mil­lion) and Nick Foles of Jack­son­ville ($30.75 mil­lion).

• The Chi­ca­go Bears have signed Rose­ville High School product Jes­per Horsted af­ter his stand­out ca­reer at Prince­ton. He set school re­cords with 196 catch­es for 2,703 yards and 28 touch­downs. An all-state re­ceiv­er in high school, he played base­ball and foot­ball in college. The Bears will con­vert the 6-4, 225-pound­er to tight end.

• With the To­ron­to Rap­tors’ push to the NBA Finals, one of their top exec­utives has local ties. Te­re­sa Resch, the Rap­tors vice pres­i­dent of basket­ball op­er­ations and play­er de­vel­op­ment, is a Lakefield, Minn., na­tive who went to Jack­son County Cen­tral High School who got her undergraduate degree at Augustana in South Dakota and her master’s degree at St. Thomas.

• Twins pitch­er Ryan Eades, who was called up from Roch­es­ter and relieved in two games before getting sent back down Thursday for Fernando Romero, be­came the first play­er in MLB his­to­ry to wear No. 80. The only unused numbers now are 86, 89 and 92.