The 2019 Twins have hit more home runs than any team in baseball history. Honestly, we aren’t talking about that enough. They hit their record-setting 268th homer on August 31. That is an incredible feat.
It’s important to recognize that two other teams have broken the record this season and the Yankees might actually finish with more home runs than the Twins. But it’s still impressive. Tonight, they added four more homers to that tally in route to an 8-5 series-opening win over the Royals.
Kyle Gibson rolled through the first inning but lost his command in the 2nd. After giving up a leadoff single and a walk, Gibson put the Twins in an early hole, giving up back-to-back RBI singles to Meibrys Viloria and Nicky Lopez. The wheels then fell off when Gibson walked three consecutive Royals, including an RBI walk from Adalberto Mondesi, putting the Royals up 3-0.
The Twins got that back on one swing in the 4th thanks to Nelson Cruz’s three-run home run, his 38th homer of the season. They took a 4-3 lead two batters later on Miguel Sano’s moonshot solo shot. His 415-foot shot had a 36-degree launch angle and a hang time of 6.3 seconds.
Zack Littell got the Twins out of the 2nd, but was replaced by Lewis Thorpe in 3rd. He breezed through the 3rd but fell into trouble in the 4th on back-to-back singles from Nicky Lopez and Whit Merrifield. The Royals tied the game on a Mondesi force out, tying the game at 4-4.
Kansas City grabbed the lead again briefly in the 5th but Royals starter Mike Montgomery was bitten by the home run bug again, as Mitch Garver’s solo home run tied the game up at 5-5. Montgomery labored throughout his outing, needing 88 pitches to get through 4+ innings.
Montgomery didn’t feel he was getting the calls he needed from home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez and the frustration boiled over after Garver’s home run. Pitching coach Cal Eldred visited Montgomery after the home run, who exchanged words with Gonzalez as the visit ended. Montgomery continued jawing and was eventually tossed.
The ill-prepared Jacob Barnes replaced Montgomery and got the first two Twins, but a two-out single by Eddie Rosario and an RBI-double from Sano gave Minnesota a 6-5 lead.
Cruz made it an 8-5 lead with his 2nd homer of the night, this time a two-run shot. Tonight was Cruz’s 6th multi-homer game of the season.
The Royals brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th, but were unable to capitalize. Taylor Rodgers closed the door in the 9th without incident. The loss dropped Kansas City to 56-98, while Minnesota improved to 94-59, keeping pace with the Indians, who shutout the Tigers tonight.
Up Next: Royals at Twins, Friday 19, 2019, 7:10 PM CDT, Target Field. LHP Eric Skoglund (0-1, 8.36 ERA) v. TBD