A handful of leftovers from the Twins’ third straight win:
Miguel Sano played third base for the first time in the majors Wednesday, and handled three ground balls flawlessly. “I played like I played in Chattanooga — normal,” said Sano, who committed 16 errors for the Lookouts. “Catch the ball, throw to first. Easy.” Molitor said Sano will remain the DH, but play third base occasionally.
— Sano also extended his hitting streak to seven games with a third-inning single, and he drew two walks. But he misread a sign from third-base coach Gene Glynn in the seventh inning, and was throw out trying to steal second. “He thought he saw something he didn’t,” Molitor said. “But it’s our job to coach better and make sure they understand the communication."
When starter Tommy Milone, whose pitch count had just eclipsed 100, walked Jonathan Schoop in the seventh inning, Molitor walked out to the mound. But he resisted the urge to take the baseball out of Milone’s hand. “I thought he was throwing the ball well. [Pitching coach Neil Allen] and I talked about, he’s not going to pitch again for awhile, so we weren’t too concerned about pitch count today,” Molitor said. “If I make a change there, they pinch-hit [Matt] Weiters or somebody. I thought our best chance was to go ahead and get [Caleb Joseph] out.
Milone did, but not without an uh-oh moment. Joseph hit Milone’s pitch deep to left field. “He got a little topspin on it, but [Eddie] Rosario was able to run it down. Those are big outs. You try to show confidence in him, with the way he’s throwing the ball.”
Casey Fien relieved Milone in the eighth, and by that time, the Twins owned a 5-1 lead. It didn’t last long; Fien gave up back-to-back home runs to Manny Machado and Chris Davis, cutting the lead in half.
It wasn’t much of a concern, though, Molitor said. “Casey’s so aggressive, especially with a lead of more than one run, he’s going to attack hitters,” the manager said. “Machado put an incredible swing on a high fastball, and we know the big boy over there, Davis, has got power all over the field. So we gave up a couple home runs, but with a four-run lead, he got back on the horse, he got three outs and got us off the field.”
Still, those were the 27th and 28th home runs allowed by the Twins’ bullpen this year, which ties the Tigers for fifth-most in the AL. It could be a lot worse, though; Tampa Bay’s bullpen has surrendered 40.