DETROIT – The Twins have gone from 103 losses to having a winning record in one year. You would think they would savor the accomplishment.
“There’s been other things that have a little more prescient than that,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Sure, the Twins crave for more. And that could happen later this week if the Twins maintain control of the second wild card spot in the American League.
But first things first. The Twins beat the Tigers 10-4 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep in Comerica Park. At 82-74, the Twins are the first team since Seattle in 2009 — and the 13th team ever — to have a winning record the year after losing 100-plus games.
Nope, no first overall pick in next year’s draft for these guys. Not by a long shot.
After being swept by the Yankees in three games, the Twins answered by dominating a reeling Tigers team that has lost seven straight and 14 of their last 16. They outscored Detroit 39-12 in the series, during which they batted .320. They did what they had to do — get early leads and continue to apply pressure.
“We talked about how we would respond after leaving New York,” said second baseman Brian Dozier, who was 2-for-5 with an RBI. “ We accomplished our goal of winning all four games.”
It looks like the Twins will play more than 162 games this season. The win on Sunday kept them 4.5 games ahead of their closest rival for the second wild card spot — the Los Angeles Angels, who beat Houston 7-5 Sunday night — as they have a scheduled day off on Monday before playing Cleveland on Tuesday. It’s a turnaround few expected.
“We tried to put last year behind us as best we could,” Molitor said. “You try to learn from it, and it might change from person to person how they might have used it for motivation. More than anything, it was a tremendous learning experience, although it was tough to endure at the time.”
And many of the players responsible for their surprising run produced on Sunday.
Righthander Jose Berrios, 13-8, didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning. He gave up two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts as he won for the first time since Aug. 30.
Eduardo Escobar continues to fill in capably for the injured Miguel Sano at third base. Escobar was 2-for-5 for with four RBI, including a three-run home run in the sixth. Escobar has 20 homers, an unexpected power source in an unexpected season.
Shortstop Jorge Polanco went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, raising his batting average to .260. He was batting .213 on Aug. 2.
And Joe Mauer’s resurgent swing was a threat once again. He went 2-for-5 with a two-run single in the sixth and two runs scored.
Polanco’s home run opened the scoring in the first, and Dozier’s RBI single in the second made it 2-0. Zack Granite’s sacrifice fly in the fourth put the Twins ahead 3-0 in the fourth, then the teams each scored two runs in the fifth.
The Twins broke the game open with five runs in the sixth, including Escobar’s homer, a drive to right-center.
Not satisfied with finishing over .500. The Twins head to Cleveland looking to become the first time to lose 100 games then make the postseason the next season.
“How about that?” Dozier said. “There is more to come.”