Granted, the Twins have gotten on a roll against two of baseball’s worst teams. But it had to start somewhere, and they did what they needed to do against who they needed to do it against.
The Twins dispatched the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Wednesday to take two of three games against their AL Central foe. The lineup, from top to bottom, contributed. Brian Dozier and Logan Morrison are finding their power strokes. Lance Lynn needed 114 pitches to get through five-plus innings, but shook off a three-run first inning.
Most importantly, the Twins took the series after sweeping four from Baltimore. They have won six of their first seven games of their current Target Field homestand, their best stretch of play since they won eight out of 10 in early May to climb within one game of .500.
And this isn’t suggesting they solved all their problems and need to postpone October hunting trips. The Twins (41-49) remain eight games under .500 and can’t be taken seriously until that ground is made up. But they are showing what’s possible when their pitching and hitting are in sync.
“I don’t think we’re red-hot. I think we’re better,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “There are some signs of life as far as the bats coming around. The starts have been mostly good, which you need if you’re going to go on some kind of a run. Just trying to get through this homestand. It’s an overstatement but we have to win as many games as we can heading into the break, given where we’re at.”
They are four games closer to achieving that, with Tampa Bay in town Thursday for the first of four games.
The Twins fell behind 3-0 in the first inning following a Salvador Perez three-run homer. But Lynn recovered to hold the Royals to one run over the next four innings.
They scored two in the second with two outs on Jake Cave’s triple to right and Bobby Wilson’s RBI single to center. Kansas City increased its lead to 4-2 in the third on Mike Moustakas’ leadoff home run to right.
But the Twins scored three runs in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead. Wilson belted an RBI double. Then, with the bases loaded, Dozier beat out a swinging bunt down the third base line as Royals pitcher Glenn Sparkman fielded it and threw wildly to first as two runs scored.
The bottom of the Twins order — Max Kepler, Cave and Wilson — combined to go 6-for-11 with three RBI and five runs scored. Cave has a seven-game hitting streak. Wilson had three hits in a game for the first time since Aug. 24, 2016.
Combined with Dozier, who was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI, and Joe Mauer, who also was 3-for-5, the offense continued to hum. The Twins have hit .351 with runners in scoring position this homestand.
“All around, I think everything is starting to click,” Dozier said. “Starting to see some signs of a really good offense.”
Dozier hit a two-run homer in the sixth, followed by a solo blast by Morrison to make it 8-4 — more than enough to absorb Moustakas’ ninth-inning homer, his second of the game.
And it made a winner of Lynn (7-7), who wasn’t sharp and was lifted two batters into the sixth.
“You’re going to have those days where you give up a couple early, but with this offense, especially as of late, you’ve just got to kind of stop it there and let them get going,” Lynn said. “You see what they did at the end there.”