Sorry, Miguel. Take a seat, Byron. The Twins who played on Tuesday, who provided the biggest offensive explosion in three years, featuring the most hits in Minnesota history, have a great idea about Wednesday’s game.
“We were saying it has to be the same lineup tomorrow,” Eduardo Escobar said.
Who’s going to tell him no? Escobar, giving Miguel Sano a rare day off, singled five times in six at-bats, drove in two runs — and wasn’t even the Twins’ biggest offensive hero of the night. Eddie Rosario smacked three home runs, the Twins collected 28 hits, and Minnesota broke its five-game Target Field losing streak with a 20-7 thrashing of Seattle.
The pounding was so complete, the Twins even got to hit against somebody else’s catcher for a change.
That’s a good way to put it. Eight consecutive Twins knocked base hits in the third inning, and five more in a row did it in the seventh. The Twins collected eight hits in both innings, remarkable since they’ve had 24 entire games this season with fewer.
“It was a nice response to a tough start to the homestand last night,” manager Paul Molitor said.
He’s understating it. It was the ninth time in Minnesota history they scored 20 runs, the first time since Aug. 22, 2014 against Detroit. Jason Castro’s seventh-inning single was not only his fourth hit and drove in his fourth run of the night, but it broke the old team record of 25 hits — with an inning still to play. The Twins singled 21 times, another franchise record, with four different players collecting four or five hits.
Max Kepler and Brian Dozier also homered, and Eddie Rosario became the seventh Twin ever to hit threee homers in a game, and only the fifth batter in major-league history ever to homer three times from the ninth spot in the batting order.
After hearing so much about their negative run differential in getting outscored 27-11 in the previous two games, “we took that a little personal today,” Molitor said. “We tried to narrow the gap.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson won his fourth consecutive decision, and second straight against the Mariners, leading the Twins to the blowout … wait, wait, wait. It’s all true, but hardly accurate. Gibson reverted, for several stretches of his six-inning start, to the problematic, seemingly always-in-trouble nibbler that earned him a demotion to Triple-A last month. The veteran righthander game up 12 hits, most by a Twins pitcher in one game since Ricky Nolasco in Aug. 2014, and he left runners in scoring position in four innings.
On the other hand, he also became the first Twin since Kyle Lohse on Sept. 2, 2003, to give up a dozen hits and still be credited with a win.
“It sure didn’t look like the final outcome was a possibility the way the game started,” Molitor said. “Gibby got roughed up a little bit early.”
But he had two turning points, one of them provided by Molitor. In the second inning, having given up a homer and two singles, Gibson snagged a line smash from Mitch Haniger, enabling him to escape the inning with only a 3-0 deficit.
And in the fourth, after he had surrendered three doubles to the first four batters of the inning, Molitor jogged to the mound for a one-on-one conference, signaling to catcher Castro to remain where he was.
“I was trying to find ways to help him learn how to fight through some of those things,” Molitor said. “I thought, given the fact that we had come off two innings scoring 11 runs, it was not time to try to trick people. Get back to being aggressive, basically.”