The Twins won 20 games in August, including a much-needed, three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox to end the month. That’s just what the doctor ordered before the club embarks on the gauntlet that is September. The Twins play 28 games this month, 15 of them against division rivals.
But after the Twins lost Friday, Sept. 1, to the Kansas City Royals, I had this sinking feeling that it was all going to be too much. Yes, the Twins are a vastly improved team, but perhaps not quite good enough to survive a stretch run.
Well, I was mistaken because the Twins came right back on Saturday and blasted the Royals, 17-0. And despite missing some key players, others in the lineup continue to step up when the Twins need it most. On Saturday, it was infielder Eduardo Escobar’s turn. Escobar hit two home runs and a triple and drove in six runs. In all, the Twins banged out 14 hits, including a four-hit night from Joe Mauer. Mauer is now hitting .303. Brian Dozier also hit his 27th dinger of the year and is now one shy of tying Miguel Sano for the team lead in home runs.
Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Escobar had eight of the Twins ‘ 14 hits Saturday. I bet no one expected that lineup to produce big results.
Ervin Santana gets the ball Sunday.
-Another Twin who has stepped up is none other than pitcher Kyle Gibson. Gibson pitched six scoreless innings Saturday with five strikeouts and no walks. If Gibson can remain consistent down the stretch, the Twins have an excellent chance to sew up that wild card berth. Saturday’s win was his third straight quality start, something he hadn’t accomplished since July 2015, according to MLB.com.
-If you missed it, the Twins secured their sweep of the White Sox with an unusual walk-off win. Instead of a dramatic hit to win it, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run. Also in that game, pitcher Bartolo Colon struck out eight in six innings.