Brian Dozier returned to the Twins clubhouse after their 5-3 victory over the Royals on Saturday to find his Sunday jersey had been altered. Teammate Trevor Plouffe had covered the nameplate with the word “Mister,” and Dozier’s number had been changed from 2 to “100.”
“Looks nice, doesn’t it?” Dozier said with a laugh at the tribute to his 100th career home run, part of a three-homer effort by the Twins that helped them snap their four-game losing streak at Target Field and beat Kansas City for just the second time in eight games this season.
The makeshift uniform wasn’t the only recognition Dozier received for his sixth blast of August, which is tied for the major league lead. The noisy announced crowd of 30,147 demanded a curtain call, and Dozier obliged, waving his helmet from the top step of the dugout. “That’s my first one. I could hear the crowd cheering,” said Dozier, the 16th Twin to reach triple digits in homers for his career and first since Joe Mauer passed 100 in 2013. “It was a pretty cool feeling.”
The whole game was for the Twins, who also got homers from Robbie Grossman and Eddie Rosario — the latter preceding Dozier’s blast, the Twins’ 11th instance of back-to-back home runs this year — and a strong seven innings from Tyler Duffey, a big contribution after the previous three starters combined for just 10 innings.
“It was good to see Duff come out and pick us up as a team and rotation. He was good throughout,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It starts with that fastball. He’s gaining confidence in that pitch, in his command.”
Duffey won his third start in a row, holding the Royals to just two runs and six hits over seven innings, his longest start since June. Duffey surrendered a solo home run to Cheslor Cuthbert in the third inning, and a pair of doubles to Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar in the seventh, but mostly avoided any serious trouble in evening his record at 8-8 on the season.
The Twins lead the major leagues in home runs in August with 24, and Dozier’s six are tied for the most. “I’m not sure what it feels like to be in the groove that he’s in,” Molitor said. “That was a no-doubter tonight.”
Ryan Pressly pitched around his eighth-inning error by turning an inning-ending double play, and Brandon Kintzler earned his 11th save, albeit with a glitch by the Twins defense, in the ninth. Alex Gordon lined a two-out single, moved up to second and scored an unearned run when third baseman Jorge Polanco’s on-the-run throw sailed past Mauer. But Kintzler responded by striking out Raul Mondesi with the crowd on its feet.
Another lefty promoted
For the third day in a row, a Rochester lefthander was granted another chance with the Twins.
On Saturday, it was Ryan O’Rourke, who posted a 1.93 ERA in the bullpen with the Class AAA Red Wings, getting the call. He follows Andrew Albers, who was added Thursday, and Pat Dean, summoned on Friday. Albers was designated for assignment to make room for O’Rourke, who has a career 5.83 ERA in two stints with the Twins.