MLB: Twins bid to follow up power surge in series finale vs. Cubs
After racking up a season-high five homers, the Minnesota Twins will try to win their sixth home series in seven tries on Sunday when they conclude their three-game set vs. the Chicago Cubs in Minneapolis.
Alex Kirilloff went deep twice and the Twins finished with 13 hits in an 11-1 romp on Saturday. Minnesota was held to four hits in a 6-2 loss in Friday’s opener.
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On Saturday, Joey Gallo hit a towering three-run homer high into the second deck in right field and Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa also homered. It marked the first time since July 5, 2022, that the Twins hit five home runs in a game.
“It was a nice day in a lot of ways,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Obviously we get a nice win. … Getting a whole bunch of guys in the lineup with a lot of good at-bats and a lot of good swings, it felt like that contagious nature of offense that we do see in this game. This was one of those days for us.”
Kirilloff gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a 382-foot blast into the left-field bleachers. Kirilloff’s second homer followed a tape-measure three-run shot by Gallo and went 422 feet to dead center before he finished with a ground-rule double down the left-field line.
The big game came just three days after he singled down the right-field line in the 11th inning of a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.
“It feels good to feel healthy and be back here and playing ball,” said Kirilloff, the 15th overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Kirilloff has had each of his two previous seasons cut short by right wrist injuries that required surgery. He began the season on a rehab assignment on April 11 at Class-A Fort Myers before being promoted to Triple-A Saint Paul on April 30. He was recalled by the Twins on May 5 and is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with two homers and three RBIs.
“The swings tell you everything you need to know,” Baldelli said when asked about Kirilloff’s wrist. “He uses the whole field. He does get on pitches some other hitters in our game tend to struggle with. He can get to a lot of different places (in the ballpark).
Minnesota’s Louie Varland (0-0, 4.32 ERA) will make his ninth career start and first against the Cubs, while Chicago will answer with fellow right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-3, 2.28).
Stroman has gone at least six innings while allowing two or fewer runs in seven of his eight starts this season; however, he hasn’t picked up a win since a 2-0 shutout of Texas on April 7. He is 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA in five career starts against the Twins and is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in two starts at Target Field.
The Cubs will try to bounce back from their most lopsided loss of the season. Starter Hayden Wesneski gave up a career-high seven earned runs and four homers in five innings on Saturday.
“Didn’t execute the plan,” Wesneski said. “It is what it is. They didn’t miss them, and that’s the result.”
“We haven’t had that many clunkers like that (where) early on we’re out of the game,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’ll be back (on Sunday).”
–Field Level Media
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