Here are a handful of extra notes from Thursday’s 8-5 loss to Oakland, a tough day for Kyle Gibson and the Twins.
Set up for Sano, but ...
Miguel Sano has 51 career home runs, but never a walk-off homer. He got his chance on Thursday, with the bases loaded and two outs, and manager Paul Molitor admits the thought occurred to him, too.
“In the back of your mind, you’re hoping for the big one,” Molitor said, “but in reality, Im just trying to keep the line moving, give [Kennys] Vargas a shot at a base hit to tie the game.”
A’s closer Santiago Casilla didn’t seem to like the matchup, throwing three balls to fall behind in the count. Sano liked his chances of delivering a clutch hit.
“If they throw me a fastball down the middle,” Sano said of A’s closer Santiago Casilla. “But they throw me a cutter high, and they never make a mistake in the middle.”
Sano swung at a fastball off the plate, fouling it off.
“He might have expanded [the strike zone] just a little bit on 3-0, but that’s fine,” Molitor said. “You want him to take a swing.”
He swung again on 3-1 at an inside pitch, and fouled it off again. And Casilla’s 3-2 curveball fooled Sano. He checked his swing too late, and struck out for the fourth time on the day.
“I had an opportunity to bring some runs to the plate. Obviously I wasn’t able to do that,” Sano said. “But what can you do? He did a good job of throwing pitches.”
Sano's suspension hearing today
Sano’s appeal of his one-game suspension for his actions during a game against the Tigers on April 22 is scheuled for today.
Sano was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount when he appeared to throw a punch at Detroit catcher James McCann. Sano has claimed it was a shove. The incident began when Detroit lefthander Matt Boyd threw a pitch behind Sano’s back, and Sano pointed and yelled at Boyd. McCann stepped in to keep Sano from approaching Boyd and his glove hit Sano in the face, leading to Sano’s response.
Boyd’s behind-the-back toss came after teammate JaCoby Jones was hit in the mouth by an errant Justin Haley pitch earlier in the game.
Molitor expects a quick decision, which could result in Sano missing tonight's opener against Boston if the suspension is upheld..
No need to sprint
Danny Santana says he has never hit a home run so far, at any level, in any ballpark. And yet, he knows he’s not really a power hitter, so when he crushed the Jharel Cotton fastball into the upper deck in right center, he ran full speed until nearly reaching second base after the 435-foot blast.
“I always run. Always run. I don’t hit them that far,” Santana said after connecting on his 10th career home run, and first in Target Field since Aug. 22, 2014. “But that one, I was waiting for a fastball. I got it.”
Speaking of homers
The Twins clubbed 10 home runs against the A’s this week, tying the franchise record for a three-game series. The only other time they’ve ever reached double digits was on July 12-14, 2001, at Milwaukee. (The franchise record for homers in a series, by the way, is a whopping 17, in a four-game series Aug. 26-28, 1963 at Washington.)
It was a remarkable series, considering that the 10 homers constitute one-third of the Twins’ season total of 30. Byron Buxton, Joe Mauer and Santana all hit their first homers of the year, Brian Dozier had a pair, and Eddie Rosario, Jason Castro, Max Kepler, Kennys Vargas and Sano all connected, too.
The Red Sox are here for a three-game series.
Byron Buxton will be examined again after leaving Thursday's game following a series of wall collisions.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will be in town and has a press conference this afternoon before the game.