Young performers lead Twins’ late show
MINNEAPOLIS -- Few saw it, at least in person, but the Twins won a game early Wednesday morning on the strength of their prospects. It was a welcome sight, and a glimmer of hope, for a team that entered play Wednesday 27 games under .500 and 23 g...
MINNEAPOLIS - Few saw it, at least in person, but the Twins won a game early Wednesday morning on the strength of their prospects. It was a welcome sight, and a glimmer of hope, for a team that entered play Wednesday 27 games under .500 and 23 games out in the American League Central.
“We need to have those things happen more often than not,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “We’ve got to have some hope.”
Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton went a combined 7 for 15 with three home runs and seven runs batted in in an 11-4 victory that started after a rain delay of 2 hours, 42 minutes and ended at 1 a.m.
“That’s a welcome sign. We need that to happen,” Ryan said. “A lot of us have been waiting for some of those guys for a while.”
Sano, Vargas and Kepler each homered, and Buxton doubled, scored and drove in a run. Trevor May, another top prospect, pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
Kepler, a rookie in his first call-up, entered Wednesday’s series finale with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his past four games. Sano had only three hits since returning from a strained hamstring on July 1 but has two homers, six RBIs and five walks. Buxton, who rested Wednesday, is batting .278 with six extra-base hits and six runs scored in his past 10 games.
Manager Paul Molitor said it was encouraging to win a game behind the organization’s top prospects.
“You look for glimpses, what could be forthcoming,” he said. “A lot of that, when you project, is how your young guys that have been given expectation labels … start to surface. Guys that are contributing to these wins - Vargas, the way Kepler’s going, Sano, Buxton - you continue to watch for the development of these guys.
“I think our future bodes well offensively as these guys continue to come on. I think we all know that finding a way to be more efficient as a pitching staff would probably be the more critical piece of better baseball overall. But I think you’re seeing our offensive guys.”
The Twins fully expect top pitching prospect Jose Berrios, 22, to rejoin the team this season.
In his first major league call-up, Berrios mostly struggled, going 1-1 with a 10.20 earned-run average in four starts. In the last, he failed to get out of the first inning, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits and four walks in a 10-8 loss at Detroit. But he also showed fans his electric arsenal, including a sharp-breaking curveball that resembles a slider and a fastball that averages in the mid-90s.
In his past two starts at Class AAA Rochester, he is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA with six walks and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Asked if it’s just a matter of time before he’s recalled, Ryan said, “Yeah, probably so.”
“His last numbers have been pretty decent,” he added. “Now, his last (start) was probably his best. There are still some things we are looking for, but he’s done a nice job here as of late. So, it gives us a little depth, and it’s good to see.”
Infielder Eduardo Escobar was available Wednesday after testing his strained hamstring before the game.
r After stealing second in the third inning, all-star Eduardo Nunez became the first Twins player to steal 20 bases before the all-star break since Carlos Gomez stole 21 in 2008. Gomez finished that season with 33 steals in 153 games.