One day, Eddie Rosario does something unbelievable, like dropping what looked like a routine fly ball in what was one of the Twins' worst losses of the season.
A day later, Rosario does something that’s equally unbelievable. His pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh inning helped carry the Twins to a 6-3 victory over Oakland, providing what manager Rocco Baldelli called “probably one of the more memorable moments that we have at least to this point in the year, and we have some big moments to compare it to.”
Rosario electrified the night when he hit the first pitch thrown by reliever Yusmeiro Petit into the seats in right-center. To that point, the Twins — already on a season-worst three-game losing streak — had committed two errors and a baserunning mishap and managed only one run over six innings off A’s starter Mike Fiers.
The announced crowd of 28,432 was sweltering at Target Field with little to cheer about when Luis Arraez led off the seventh with a double and Miguel Sano walked.
Jake Cave was due up, but Baldelli had Rosario and Jorge Polanco, both not in the starting lineup, warming up. When Petit came in, he went with Rosario.
“He does love being in these situations,” Baldelli said. “I think he fully expected to hit a home run because that’s what he does.”
Rosario homered during his first major league at-bat in 2015. He homered in his first career playoff at-bat in 2017. He looks to do big things in big moments. It took one pitch for Baldelli to be proven right.
“I’ve done it before in my career,” Rosario said. “I have three homers as a pinch-hitter in close moments. I’m going to try to do the same thing. I want to try to hit it hard and make good contact. I love the moment. I think the moment pushes me to hit these home runs.”
The Twins’ previous 10 home runs were all solo shots before Rosario came through.
The energy in the park changed after that. Mitch Garver and C.J. Cron added solo home runs in the eighth, and the Twins ended their three-game losing streak as they won the first game of a four-game series against the A's, who entered the game 36-16 since May 16 and riding a six-game winning streak.
The three homers gave the Twins 49 multihomer games, tying them for the most in the majors.
The score was tied at 1-1 in the sixth when Oakland’s Ramon Lauerano reached on an infield single with one out. Khris Davis lined out to left for the second out, but Jurickson Profar belted a two-run home run to right field for a 3-1 lead. It came on a 93-mile-per-hour fastball by Gibson, who said that even after looking at replays, he thought he made the right pitch.
Nothing was working for the Twins to that point. They scored their lone run in the third inning on a wild pitch and had Cave on third with one out, only to see the inning end when Max Kepler lined into a double play. Two innings later, with Arraez on second and Sano on first and nobody out, Arraez was picked off after believing Cave was hit by a pitch trying to bunt.
Rosario’s at-bat changed the night, and helped keep the Twins four games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central.
“No doubt. It sounds cliché but a lot of those things are true,” said Gibson (9-4) with this victory. “It can give a team confidence, it can kind of re-boost you a little bit and we were doing that a lot early on in the year. It seemed like every situation we needed a hit we were getting one.
“Recently, the last three or four weeks, it really hadn’t been that way. To get that hit, it really had kind of the vintage feel of early on in the season, where we’re not going to lose this game, we knew that we had a chance to win it the whole time and it’s a big swing like that from Eddie that makes us believe it.”
Twins 6, Oakland 3
7:10 p.m. today (FSN)