CLEVELAND — The red jerseys produced a victory yesterday, or so goes the thinking in the Twins’ clubhouse. So red — or “rojo” as starting pitcher Ervin Santana requested — is the color again tonight.
Similarly, the lineup cranked out 10 runs, the most in two weeks, so no way Paul Molitor was going to change it, right?
Well, yes and no. “It wasn’t that I just came in and pressed [the same lineup] right away,” the Twins’ manager said. “There was some thought to it this morning. But it just made sense. It worked out pretty well.”
It did. So OK, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the Twins will use the same starting nine, in the same order, in back-to-back games for just the sixth time this season, and just the second time since mid-May. It’s a lineup that has Miguel Sano batting third, a spot that Molitor clearly likes for him, even if he has the most powerful swing on the team.
“He had some good at-bats [Friday], and one big hit,” Molitor said. “You could argue that the consistency of his at-bats has been as good as anybody we’ve had here over the past however many weeks he’s been here. I do like the idea that he’s going to get up in the first inning.”
He’ll bat against Trevor Bauer tonight, a fireballing pitcher he’s never faced. Brian Dozier has, though, and he’s 1-for-14, while Trevor Plouffe is 2-for-13. But Torii Hunter is 6-for-12 and Joe Mauer is 4-for-11, so maybe it’ll be a night for the old guys.
Speaking of old guys, Hunter last night became the second-oldest Twin ever to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning, according to Elias Sports Bureau, behind only Dave Winfield in 1993. And Hunter became the second 40-or-older Twin to steal a base and hit a home run in the same game, joining Molitor, who did it in 1997.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game: