The first home run was a blast that sailed into the second deck in Target Field and ended up in the hands of a young fan wearing the jersey of Padres’ infielder Jedd Gyorko.
The second home run was a towering, Killebrew-esque clout that reached the third deck in left — where few baseballs visit.
Both were hit — both were hurt — by rookie designated hitter Miguel Sano. He had fans buzzing. He also had the Twins cruising to a 11-1 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday.
Sano went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and tied a club rookie record with six RBI. He shares the record with Oswaldo Arcia and Tony Oliva. It wasn’t a solo show, even though Sano’s RBI total was a season-high for any Twins player. The Twins’ 18- hit attack led to their most runs in a game since June 22.
Aaron Hicks went 4-for-5 — it was the second four-hit game of his career — with four runs scored and two RBI. And all four hits were well-struck.
Together, Hicks and Sano made it short night of work for Rangers righthander Nick Martinez, who was removed after 3 ⅔ innings and 96 pitches. It was only the third time since July 30 the Twins have scored more than four runs in a game.
“It was just nice to continue to add on,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You get some runs early and you want to keep the pedal down and extend it as much you can. And we did that for the most part.”
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey also did his job, holding the Rangers to one run and four hits over seven innings.
Hicks led off the first inning with a homer, the first leadoff homer of his career. Joe Mauer followed with RBI groundout. Then Sano hit his first homer, a blast estimated at 437 feet.
“The first one was more impressive for me because [Martinez] almost quick-pitched out of the stretch with a man on second,” Molitor said. “He threw a fastball down and in and [Sano] somehow stayed inside it.”
In the fourth, Hicks singled with one out and Mauer reached on an error. Sano then got ahead in the count 3-1 and took a mighty swing at a breaking ball but missed. With the count full, Martinez threw something flat and at 82 miles per hour. Sano swatted that pitch into the third deck, an estimated 421 feet for a 7-0 lead.
The Twins added four runs in the fifth inning. Hicks got his fourth hit of the game, an RBI single. And Sano added a sacrifice fly to make it 11-0.
Sano has played in 33 games. He has showed patience. His 23 walks are five behind Torii Hunter, who has played in 67 more games.
Sano has shown poise. His RBI double in the eighth inning on Tuesday was one of the a key hits in a 3-2 comeback victory over Texas.
On Wednesday, it was about power. The power that made him one of the top slugging prospects in the minors before the Twins called him up on July 2 from Class AA Chattanooga. Since then, teammates have said Sano is on a different level than other young hitters.
“I remember when I signed [in 2009] and I told Mauer, ‘I’ll [bat] behind you and with [Justin] Morneau, in the middle,” Sano said. “He told me, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’
“I’m so happy I can be here right now and behind Mauer. I know Morneau is not here, but I’m here.”