A trio of leftovers after the Twins finished up a rare St. Louis-Chicago-Chicago homestand:
— Byron Buxton sure didn’t look like a guy who struck out all four times he batted on Wednesday. The rookie seemed far more happy with the team’s win than upset over his contribution. “I try not to think too much about it,” Buxton said after his strikeout total increased from 11 to 15 in one afternoon. “I’ll watch video to see a few things, but other than that, let it go.”
He said he’s learned so much in his 11 days as a major-leaguer, chief among them: Wow. These pitchers.
“You’ve always got somebody pretty good going out there, every day,” he said. “They’ve always got more than one or two out pitches to get your out on.”
— Manager Paul Molitor said Buxton is adjusting. Sale, he said, wasn’t necessarily an eye-opener for the rookie, “maybe not any moreso than some of the other games or at-bats or people that he’s facing. He’s seeing it first-hand,” Molitor said. “I’m sure he’s watched Sale plenty of times on ESPN or highlights or whatever show he watches when he gets his baseball fix. But you get up there in the box, it’s a different thing. It’s one of those things where he got a lot of fastballs today, expanded up a few times, especially when he got behind. But you learn. You keep learning every time up there.”
— Phil Hughes, who turned 29 on Wednesday, said the Twins were noticeably confident on Wednesday, even though they were facing one of baseball’s hottest pitchers in Chris Sale. “The mood was pretty good about what we had to do against him,” Hughes said after improving to 6-6 on the season. “Guys were pretty upbeat.”
Even more upbeat once they took a 3-1, and then a 6-1 lead with a pair of three-run innings. The second one was a long seventh inning, and Hughes — whose ERA is down to a season-low 4.20 almost didn’t come back out. “I kind of had to talk my way into the eighth because it was such a long inning,” he said. “When I finished [the eighth], they said, ‘That’s it,’ “ even though he threw only 95 pitches for the second straight start. Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless ninth, bringing his June ERA down to 3.00.