Kurt Suzuki collected a home run, a single, a double and a double-and-a-half Tuesday night. That counts as a cycle, doesn’t it?
The catcher had the offensive night of his career against the Phillies, driving in six runs and powering a Twins offense that was relentless for a change. Minnesota reached double digits in runs for the first time this season, and only momentarily noticed that the Phillies got there, too, in a 14-10 Twins victory.
“It’s unfortunate that you have to still be a little bit uncomfortable after scoring 14 runs,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor, who gladly cut short his nightly anguish over his team’s starting pitching, preferring to let the Phillies’ distress take precedence. Tyler Duffey’s season continued to crash around him, this time with his shortest outing since his big-league debut last August, but the wreckage was overshadowed by the clamor of Twins bats battering Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola and a couple of hapless relievers.
And the most resounding bat, on a night when the Twins collected seven extra-base hits, belonged to Suzuki. The veteran catcher had more RBI on Tuesday than he had in April, and he’s lifted his average from .200 on May 28 to .265 now.
He nearly had a career milestone, too — his first cycle. Suzuki doubled in the ninth inning, driving in the game’s final two runs, and had a decent chance of getting to third base.
“Everybody was convinced, they said I would have been close,” Suzuki said, “but I didn’t want to make [the game] look like a mockery.”
“I give him credit for the right play with two outs [in the eighth], to make sure,” Molitor said. “He put the situation above the possible cycle.”
Suzuki’s best opportunity for a triple came five innings earlier. He came up with the bases loaded and smashed a hard screamer at center fielder Odubel Herrera, who got his glove on it but couldn’t stop it from skipping past to the wall. Suzuki roared around the bases as Herrera retrieved the ball, and was almost halfway to third base when he noticed Max Kepler holding up ahead of him. As the throw came to the infield, Suzuki spun and scrambled back to second.
“I could have got the tough one out of the way right there,” he shrugged.
Now the Twins must figure out what the problem is with Duffey, whose ERA has ballooned to 6.18 after allowing six runs in only three innings.
His teammates could celebrate, though, because relievers Buddy Boshers and Taylor Rogers held the Phillies scoreless, and even when Michael Tonkin surrendered a stress-inducing three-run homer to Maikel Franco — temporarily cutting Minnesota’s lead to one run — Brandon Kintzler was summoned to retire the final four batters and collect his third save.
The Twins got contributions up and down the lineup. Trevor Plouffe’s triple off the right-field wall scored two in the four-run first. Suzuki’s double in the third added two more, and Byron Buxton chipped in a sacrifice fly. All of that damage came against Nola.
Suzuki’s fourth homer of the season, and third of the month, broke the Twins into double digits for the first time in the fifth inning. And Robbie Grossman’s double and Dozier’s triple added an 11th run in the sixth.