Anaheim, Calif. – The Twins left Target Field on Wednesday saddled with a four-game losing streak and a scarred bullpen. They had no idea how long it would take for them to recover.
It ended up not being long at all.
The Twins defeated the Angels 3-2 on Sunday, giving them three victories in the four-game series. Miguel Sano put the Twins over the top with a two-run homer in the sixth. Jose Berrios twice pitched his way out of trouble in six solid innings. And the bullpen, which looked like a playpen a few days ago, provided three scoreless innings.
It enabled manager Paul Molitor to say three words that were unspeakable just a few days ago.
“We have stabilized,” he said.
While the Twins are 12-18 at home, they are 17-6 on the road. And they used the road to sort out their problems.
“We stayed positive through that whole thing,” said Sano, who now has 14 homers. “Obviously we tried to do everything we could at home and it didn’t end the way we wanted to. So to come here and win three of four is good. It shows were are doing what we are supposed to be doing and we are still playing hard.”
A week earlier, Brandon Kintzler faltered in the ninth inning against Tampa Bay, and the Twins eventually lost in 15 innings. That lit the fuse on three days of implosions while being swept by Houston, as the Astros surged to become the first 40-win team in baseball.
By the end of the week, the Twins had used 14 relievers over a five-day span, including backup catcher Chris Gimenez and starter Hector Santiago.
“You are going to go through those periods when you are going to struggle a little bit, everyone does,” Molitor said. “It’s a matter of getting back on track as quickly as you can.”
It’s hard to win a four-game series, especially on the road. But the Twins were able to get to former teammate Ricky Nolasco (2-6), handing him his fourth consecutive loss.
Jason Castro hit a solo homer in the third before Sano’s shot in the sixth put the Twins ahead 3-2. Nolasco, traded to the Angels last summer, has given up 18 home runs, tied for the second-most in the majors.
Berrios (4-1) worked out of a couple of jams to hold the Angels to two runs over six innings.
In the third inning, he plunked Eric Young Jr., who eventually came around to score when Andrelton Simmons hit into a double play.
Luis Valbuena doubled down the right field line to lead off the fourth and scored on Ben Revere’s bloop single. Berrios later walked Cliff Pennington to load the bases, but he struck out Young and got Juan Graterol to hit into a double play.
Relievers Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Matt Belisle and Kintzler combined for three scoreless innings, with Kintzler earning his 15th save. The game ended with a replay review: Revere was ruled safe on a stolen base, but video showed he overslid second and was tagged out by shortstop Ehire Adrianza.
Now the Twins play at Seattle and San Francisco, teams with losing records. They are set up to have another good road trip.
It’s because they didn’t allow things to linger, which is a good trait to have.
“It’s hard to say how resilient you are going to be over the long haul, but we have showed signs,” Molitor said. “Kind of like a couple years ago when we kept finding a way to bounce back when people were ready to bury us.”