MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Though they’re not yet one-third of the way through the season, the Minnesota Twins have been putting on quite the show.
These first 50 games were packed with big hits and broken records.
Eddie Rosario went 4 for 5 with three RBIs and one of three home runs in another powerful romp by the major league-leading Twins, who beat the Chicago White Sox 11-4 on Friday night for their ninth win in their last 10 games.
Max Kepler was 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a homer and Miguel Sanó also went deep for the Twins (34-16), who reached double-digit runs for the fourth time in their last eight games and became only the second team in baseball history to reach 100 homers by the 50-game mark. They’re at 101. They also have the most runs (300) in the majors, the first team to get there in 50 games since the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003.
“We would never want to put any limitations on ourselves. Our guys, every night, from top to bottom, compete very well,” rookie manager Rocco Baldelli said, adding: “We don’t get caught up in a lot of the things going on. It’s good it’s being talked about, because it has been impressive and guys are doing a great job. But in the clubhouse, it’s more about how do we do it again the next game.”
Jose Berrios (7-2) was the latest beneficiary of the big swings, after falling behind 4-1. Rosario tied the game in the third with his 15th homer. Two batters later, Sanó swatted a 2-2 changeup from Reynaldo López (3-5) into the seats for his fifth long ball in seven games this season since coming off the injured list.
“I don’t think it really fazes us. We know runs will be scored on this team. That’s a given,” said Kepler, who has 11 homers. “We kind of just stay in the present within each at-bat and within each pitch and just try to make the most out of it.”
By outscoring their opponents 67-29 during a seven-game West Coast road trip, the Twins built an eight-game lead in the American League Central over three-time defending division champion Cleveland. The Indians won Friday to keep pace.
Back home, the Twins played in front of their third-largest crowd of the season (29,683). From the frequent “Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!” chants for Rosario to the loud roars for each long fly ball, the buzz about this surging team has begun to build.
“Everybody’s having fun. Everybody’s happy when you’re hitting a lot of bombas,” Rosario said, smiling as he switched from English to Spanish.
The Seattle Mariners, with 600 home run club members Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez in the lineup in 1999, were the only team in history to reach triple-digit homers in 50 games, with 102, until the Twins joined them. The major league season record was set by the New York Yankees last year with 267.
The Twins have a plus-41 home run differential and a plus-97 run differential, both the best in the majors.
Tim Anderson went 3 for 3 and Yonder Alonso drove in two runs for the White Sox, who scored three unearned runs in a four-run second after shortstop Jorge Polanco sidearmed an overthrow to first base off a routine grounder to start the inning. The last three starts by Berrios have been his worst three of 11 turns, with 29 hits and 13 runs allowed over 17 innings, but he retired 14 of his last 19 batters, allowing only five singles.
Lucas Giolito’s four-hit shutout that beat powerhouse Houston on Thursday, his first career complete game, didn’t create any momentum for López. The right-hander failed to finish the fourth inning, allowing eight runs for the second time this season and pushing his ERA to 6.03.
López allowed only two earned runs over his last two turns, but Giolito has been a tough solo act to follow. Even factoring in his 6-1 record and 2.77 ERA, White Sox starters entered the game with the second-worst ERA and the second-most walks in the American League.
“It was just a bad day,” Lopez said through an interpreter. He added: “They’re going to do damage to your mistakes.”
White Sox: Catcher Welington Castillo took a foul ball that broke the top of his helmet in the eighth inning and was removed from the game, but manager Rick Renteria said he was clear of any concussion symptoms.
Twins: DH Nelson Cruz was eligible for reinstatement from the injured list, but the Twins opted for caution with his strained left wrist.
White Sox: LHP Manny Banuelos (2-3, 7.26 ERA) was slated to come off the injured list and start on Saturday afternoon after the minimum 10-day stay. He was shelved with a strained left shoulder. RHP Thyago Vieira was sent to Triple-A after the game to clear a roster spot.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (4-2, 4.47) will take the mound in the middle game of the series. He’s 7-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 92 innings over 14 career starts against the White Sox.
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