Rookie Max Kepler hit three home runs, top prospect Jose Berrios pitched six solid innings and the Twins banged out 19 hits en route to a 12-5 win over the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians on Monday. And all of this capped a day of promising trades that saw the Twins deal pitchers Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer and Fernando Abad for minor league prospects and a proven starter in Hector Santiago.
Kid Kepler. Wow.
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) August 2, 2016
But first the game. Berrios was quickly handed a 2-0 lead after Kepler’s first home run, but then Berrios handed it right back, giving up three runs in the bottom of the first. Unlike previous starts though, Berrios settled down to retire 15 straight, with five strikeouts and no walks. Monday’s win was his second of the season.
Helping his cause was an offensive explosion. In addition to Kepler’s three homers, Joe Mauer had four hits, including a double and home run, Eddie Rosario homered, Jorge Polanco hit two triples and Kurt Suzuki contributed two doubles.
Match this offense with a decent rotation and the Twins, I believe, will begin to rise in the standings. Interim GM Rob Antony, who likely is beginning to secure the inside track for the permanent job, made more moves on Monday to strengthen the pitching staff.
-Nolasco and Meyer were dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for starter Hector Santiago and minor league pitching prospect Alan Busenitz. Santiago comes to the Twins with a record of 10-4 and a 4.25 ERA, but he also has a career ERA of 3.68. Nolasco leaves the Twins with a record of 4-8 and a 5.13 ERA.
Enjoyed my time with the Twins and thankful for the friends I made. Thank you to the @RocRedWings for making the last 3 summers so great!
— Alex Meyer (@Meyer17A) August 1, 2016
-Lefty setup man Fernando Abad was sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for minor league pitching prospect and flamethrower Pat Light. Light, according to MLB.com, “has a fastball that reaches triple digits as well as a splitter and slider. He posted a 2.32 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 31 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.”
-Shortstop Eduardo Nunez was traded last week to the San Francisco Giants for top pitching prospect and lefty Adalberto Mejia.
Some reaction to the player trades:
Initial reaction is that Rob Antony came out on top of all three of his trades leading up to deadline. And rather decisively. #mntwins
— Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN) August 1, 2016
My view of Twins' deadline: Trades they made are perfectly sound, but missed chances to get strong value for Santana, Suzuki, and Kintzler.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) August 1, 2016
-No Twin has ever hit four home runs in a game, but Kepler joins Justin Morneau, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison and Tony Oliva as Twins who have hit three in one game.
-With Monday’s win, the Twins improved to 6-4 versus the Indians this season.
-Monday’s loss for Tribe pitcher and 11-game winner Danny Salazar was the shortest outing (two innings) of his career.
-Kepler finished the night with four hits, finally hitting a single in the top of the ninth.
-Despite the Twins’ struggles this season, the team is
13-6 against first-place clubs, according to data shared during Monday’s radio broadcast. Go figure.
(Please ignore the claim about the Twins being 13-6 against first-place clubs because the numbers just don’t add up. Maybe I didn’t I hear it correctly last night because a check of the first-place clubs in the American League (Orioles, Cleveland, Texas), show that the Twins are 12-11, which isn’t terrible, but it’s not 13-6. Now, the Twins are 14-6 against Cleveland, Texas and Seattle, but that includes a team (Mariners) that held first place for about a month).
Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Tuesday.