Brian Dozier should be able to enjoy the journey. After all, how many times will a player be able join a club that includes Rogers Hornsby? Or Harmon Killebrew?
It appears to be a foregone conclusion that Dozier is going to be the fourth second baseman ever to hit at least 40 homers in a season, and the second Twin ever to bash that many. But the path to these milestones has been littered with horrific Twins baseball.
Dozier did it again Tuesday, smashing his 39th home run to tie the American League record for homers in a season by a second baseman. But the bullpen did it again as well, giving up seven runs in the ninth inning of a 10-3 loss to Kansas City. The Twins fell to 2-14 against the Royals this season and have lost seven in a row to them.
So instead of talking about Dozier closing in on 40 home runs, the Twins had to break down another breakdown.
“Of course it is tough,” said Twins righthander Ervin Santana, who was removed in the seventh after the first two batters of the inning reached base. “It is tough to see [Dozier] doing everything he can to help the team, and we can’t hold it.”
Dozier, who has hit 22 of his 39 homers in losses, had changed and left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in.
It’s an event when Dozier digs in at the plate these days. With the Twins down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, Dozier got a 2-0 fastball from Royals righthander Dillon Gee and parked the ball into the left-field stands as fans jumped to their feet.
“Brian is kind of like a video game, it’s just impressive to watch,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You can tell the first couple of pitches, he gets offspeed pitches and then [Gee] tried to throw a fastball away and he just got enough for him to do what he does. Kudos to him. The run continues.”
The homer tied him with Alfonso Soriano for the most homers hit by an AL second baseman. His next homer will make him the fourth second baseman to hit at least 40 homers in a season, joining Hornsby, Davey Johnson and Ryne Sandberg. And Dozier would be the only Twin not named Killebrew to hit 40 in a season.
Dozier has homered in five consecutive games, tying Killebrew (three times) and Marty Cordova (once) for the club record.
The home run also was Dozier’s 76th extra-base hit of the season, tying Zoilo Versalles for second on the Twins’ single-season record list. Tony Oliva is first with 84.
Trevor Plouffe — who left the game in the eighth inning because of a left oblique strain after hitting a foul ball and will have an MRI on Wednesday — homered later in the first to tie the score, and Eddie Rosario’s homer in the second gave the Twins a 3-2 lead. Santana stranded runners at third base in the fifth and sixth innings. But when the first two batters reached in the seventh, Molitor brought in Ryan Pressly. Then Alcides Escobar hit a game-tying RBI single.
The Royals blew open the game with a seven-run ninth inning, which included a three-run homer by Kendrys Morales. Morales finished with two homers and five RBI, thanks to the latest Twins bullpen meltdown,
“Similar script,” Molitor said. “Probably not a lot different, though we made it interesting longer.”