August 21, 2019

Twins’ Nelson Cruz playing like he’s 29, not 39

Tendon-be-damned Nelson Cruz, who apparently is going to play through that tendon-related injury in his left wrist, unloaded on the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night with a home run and three doubles to power the Twins to a 14-4 blowout win.

The South Siders took a 3-0 lead early and then the Twins went to work, scoring two runs in the third inning, a run in the fourth, four in the fifth and then piled on with seven runs in the eighth. The Twins had 10 extra-base hits: seven doubles and three home runs, including a two-run shot from Max Kepler, his 34th, and a two-run blast from Jorge Polanco, his 19th. Cruz’s home run was his 33rd of the season.

Michael Pineda fell short of a quality start on Tuesday, but he still picked up the win and improved to 9-5 with a 4.26 ERA. That’s back-to-back wins for him since late June, early July.

Jake Odorizzi goes for win No. 14 on Wednesday.

Extra innings…

-The Twins increased their lead in the AL Central to three games because the Cleveland Indians lost to those red-hot New York Mets. Once again, the Twins’ August schedule rewards them.

-And yet the Twins lost to the Pale Hose on Monday. I was ready to rip the team after that loss, especially following a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, but then I discovered the Tribe, incredibly, has a losing record against the White Sox this season. The Indians are 5-7 versus the South Siders, while the Twins are 8-4.

-Not only did the Twins lose Monday, it was also a reminder that, well, the Twins kind of struggle at home. They are 10 games over .500 at Target Field, but are 18 games over .500 on the road.

-In Monday’s loss, manager Rocco Baldelli went with a re-jiggered lineup that featured Luis Arraez hitting leadoff, followed by Polanco, Cruz, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano. How did they do? They had 12 of the Twins’ 15 hits in a 6-4 loss. How did that happen? Starter Kyle Gibson had one bad inning and the Twins left 10 men on base.

-Cruz, Kepler and C.J. Cron each drove in three runs on Tuesday.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.