Twins set 1st-half homer record, rout Rangers 15-6
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Back home from their first losing road trip of the season, the Minnesota Twins put their record-setting power on display.
All-Star shortstop Jorge Polanco homered on his 26th birthday, Martin Perez held his former team scoreless until the seventh inning and Minnesota routed the Texas Rangers 15-6 on a drizzly Friday night at Target Field.
Polanco and rookie Luis Arraez went deep in a six-run second. Jonathan Schoop and Mitch Garver also connected to give the Twins a major league-record 165 home runs before the All-Star break — surpassing the 161 hit by the Yankees last year. Minnesota finished the entire 2018 season with 166 long balls.
“It’s something special, something to be proud of,” said Schoop, who went 3 for 5 with four RBIs.
That wasn’t Minnesota’s only impressive feat at the plate Friday night.
In the second, they slugged six extra-base hits in an inning for the first time in 53 years and only the second since the club moved to Minnesota in 1961. It also happened on June 9, 1966, when the team hit five homers and a double in the seventh against the Kansas City A’s.
The 13 extra-base hits for the game tied a club record set earlier this season. And the nine doubles tied a franchise mark dating to June 9, 1934, when the Twins were still the Washington Senators. Minnesota had a season-high 20 hits, and its 15 runs matched the most the Rangers allowed in a game this year.
“I just think we made a lot of mistakes,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Up in the zone and middle of the plate is not a good recipe to keep that offense from scoring runs.”
Perez (8-3), who signed with Minnesota last winter after spending his first seven seasons with Texas, took a four-hit shutout into the seventh, again relying on the cut fastball that has been so effective for him this season.
“It was a big game for me, and special for me to win,” Perez said.
But he couldn’t get an out in the seventh, giving up a walk and three consecutive hits for two runs before leaving to a standing ovation from the announced sellout crowd of 38,073. Ryne Harper allowed both inherited runners to score, the second on Shin-Soo Choo’s two-run homer.
“I know he had a lot of success early on and a lot of teams hadn’t seen that cutter,” Woodward said about Perez. “I thought he did a pretty good job of attacking the strike zone. He’s always had the good two-seamer. Adding that cutter, they kind of play off one another. It keeps you from squaring up a lot of balls.”
Minnesota entered 7-10 since June 6. A 2-4 trip to Chicago and Oakland cut its AL Central lead — as large as 11 1/2 games in early June — to six games, the smallest margin since May 20. But the Twins wasted little time staking Perez to a big cushion, batting around in the second and stringing together eight hits off starter Adrian Simpson (6-6).
Twins: DH Nelson Cruz exited in the fourth with right heel discomfort. The team called it a precautionary move, and Cruz didn’t consider the injury a big deal. ... Minnesota utilityman Marwin Gonzalez returned to the lineup, in left field, after missing two games with a sore right big toe. ... LF Eddie Rosario (sprained left ankle) ran straight ahead on the field before the game but probably won’t be activated Sunday when he’s eligible, manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Once the (All-Star) break ends, we’re hopeful he will be ready soon,” he said. ... C Willians Astudillo (left oblique strain) is not close to resuming baseball activities. “It’s a fairly significant oblique injury, and we have to let him heal,” Baldelli said.
Rangers: Woodward said he prefers backup catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa (sprained right middle finger) start hitting better on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Nashville before the Rangers bring him back. Kiner-Falefa was 1 for 10 in his first three games with the Sounds.
Twins: RHP Blake Parker went on the paternity list, and the Twins recalled RHP Kohl Stewart from Triple-A Rochester for his fourth stint with the big club. The Twins need a starter for Sunday, but Baldelli doesn’t expect to announce one until after Saturday’s game. Stewart pitched in relief Monday night.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (5-4, 4.78 ERA) has never beaten the Rangers, going 0-4 with a 5.66 ERA in six starts. Pineda won at Chicago in his last start, allowing one run in six innings while tying his season high with eight strikeouts.
Rangers: RHP Jesse Chavez (3-3, 2.97) makes his third start since joining the rotation. Last time out he lost 6-2 at Tampa Bay. But this could be a good matchup for Chavez, who has allowed one earned run over 18 1/3 innings in four career appearances at Target Field.