Despite 103 losses, the poor pitching and error-prone defense, there is hope for the Twins after they beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Sunday to win the final game of the 2016 season.
And though the Twins’ young talent didn’t quite materialize as expected this season, they showed Sunday that next season could be a breakout year for Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jose Berrios and Max Kepler.
Buxton put the American League on notice after he hit the first pitch from 17-game winner Chris Sale for an inside-the-park home run and showed off his incredible speed. And it wasn’t even close as he crossed home plate. Home-to-home took him 14 seconds, according to Statcast.
Buxton had two hits on Sunday, as did Kepler and Sano, including his 25th home run. And starter Berrios, who struggled all season, finally put together a decent outing, giving the Twins five innings while only giving up one run.
And Brandon Kintzler, who replaced Glen Perkins as the closer after Perkins had season-ending surgery, recorded his 17th save on Sunday.
-The Twins finished 59-103 in 2016.
-Being the worst team in baseball means the Twins get the first pick in the 2017 draft. The last time the Twins had the No. 1 pick they selected Joe Mauer. Mauer is a six-time All-Star and the 2009 AL MVP. He hit .365 that season.
-The Twins had 11 players hit 10 or more home runs, including 42 from Brian Dozier and 25 from Sano.
-The Twins may have lost 103 games, but they hit 200 home runs as a team. That’s the third-most in club history, according to MLB.com.
-The Twins finished 7-12 vs. the Pale Hose.
Some reaction to Sunday’s win:
Something tells me that won't be the last inside-the-park homer we see from Byron Buxton.
— Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN) October 2, 2016
Paul Molitor on Byron Buxton's inside-the-park homer: "If baseball was five bases, he probably would've been safe, too."
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) October 2, 2016
Miguel Sano connects on 3-run HR into LF seats, the Twins' 200th HR of the season. Third time they've had that many, first time since 1964.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) October 2, 2016
Buxton's next task: Making the 11-hour drive home to Georgia. Felton Buxton, his dad, already made the drive from MN with another vehicle.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 2, 2016