It was two months ago when Twins manager Rocco Baldelli aired his frustration with his team's offensive performance after being swept in Atlanta. He closed the clubhouse to reporters and told players to conduct a team meeting.

Things look much different these days.

The Twins rank in the top 10 in the major leagues in most offensive categories since the All-Star break. They entered Saturday with the second-highest slugging percentage (.478) and the fourth-highest on-base percentage (.344). They have averaged 5.26 runs per game.

"I think all of us stayed true to the fact of, this season is a really long season," said Ryan Jeffers, who has a 1.061 on-base percentage plus slugging percentage since the All-Star break. "We're a really good team. When we were struggling, I think we stayed confident in that notion that we're really good at baseball. We've got the pieces here to really do something special this year. I think there wasn't much panic in this locker room."

The Twins hit .232 in the first half of the season with a .309 on-base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage.

There are a lot of things that could have contributed to the offensive uptick. Carlos Correa noted how rookies Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner have performed and boosted the lineup. Baldelli mentioned how Max Kepler has taken his at-bats to another level after a rough start to the season.

"Eddy Julien wasn't on the team at the beginning of the year," Baldelli said. "Matt Wallner was not on the team at the beginning or even for a lot of the middle of the year, too. Royce Lewis was hurt for half the season. There is not one way to talk about this. How about, we're a different team now than where we were in April? I think that's a fair way of actually saying it."

There was always faith among Twins players and coaches that the offense would eventually turn things around. In their first 16 home games since the All-Star break, they had outscored their opponents 97-62.

"As the season has gone on, we've started to pull it together as a unit, as a full group," Jeffers said. "We're a really scary team when we are playing all three facets of the game really well."

The Twins are striking out at a higher rate than they did in the first half of the season, but they have improved their hitting with runners in scoring position.

"We have to carry this forward," Baldelli said. "Having a good stretch for six weeks, that's not going to be enough. This is something that has to be a consistent part of our reality from here on out, and I think it very well can be."

Taylor has sore hamstring

Michael A. Taylor hit three home runs over two games this past week, but he has been out of the lineup since Friday because of a sore hamstring.

"It's something that has been going on for a little while," Baldelli said. "Coming out of the game [Thursday], we knew he was dealing with more than just very minor soreness or tightness. We're kind of playing it day to day."

Taylor, who entered Saturday on a seven-game hitting streak, has stolen only one base since June 15. He was unavailable to play Friday even after center fielder Joey Gallo was ejected following a third-inning strikeout. Jordan Luplow played the final six innings in center.

"He's doing a little bit better [Saturday], but it's not gone yet," Baldelli said. "We'll see when we think we can get him back out there. I don't want to set him back by putting him out there and trying to play through something he simply can't play through. We're on that line where we don't want to cross that threshold of losing him for an extended period."


Reliever Jordan Balazovic was optioned back to the Class AAA Saints before Saturday's game to make room on the 26-man roster for starting pitcher Joe Ryan.

Randy Dobnak gave up five runs on eight hits over six innings as the Saints lost at Omaha 7-3. Hernán Pérez homered for the Saints, and Brooks Lee had two hits, two walks and two RBI.