MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It looks as if the Minnesota Twins are finally coming around at the plate.
Max Kepler homered twice and set a Twins rookie record by driving in seven runs, helping Minnesota rout the Texas Rangers 17-5 on Saturday.
The Twins entered the game having scored the fewest runs in the American League. But they hit six homers last Sunday in a win at Yankee Stadium, and then they averaged five runs in a three-game series at the White Sox.
And Saturday was pretty nice, too.
Eduardo Nunez had four hits for the Twins, who scored at least three runs in four of the first five innings. Kepler’s second home run of the day capped a six-run fifth inning and gave the Twins a 17-4 lead.
“We know the struggles offensively aren’t going to be all year long,” Nunez said. “It has to change at some point.”
Texas right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-1) recorded just two outs in his second start of the season. Gonzalez walked two batters and gave up two hits in Minnesota’s four-run first. He also was hurt by poor defense, with misplays on three consecutive batters extending the inning.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister pulled him after 38 pitches.
“You get into a situation like that — young kid, could have pushed him to one more hitter,” Banister said. “Wherever that takes him, he’s out of that game anyway. I’m going to protect him.”
Cesar Ramos replaced Gonzalez and was charged with seven runs in 2 1/3 innings as the Twins worked their way through the Texas bullpen. The Rangers finally turned to backup catcher Bryan Holaday for the last four outs.
Tyler Duffey (4-6) was the beneficiary of the outburst, pitching six innings for his second straight win. He gave up four runs and eight hits, including long home runs by Ryan Rua and Robinson Chrinos in the fourth inning.
Minnesota slugger Miguel Sano launched a two-run drive into the second deck in left field in the second inning. His 12th homer of the season was his first since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him throughout June.
Sano was one of three players who shared the previous team rookie record with six RBIs. And apparently he wasn’t eager to yield the title to Kepler.
“Sano was telling me during the game that he had eight, so I was a little bummed out about that,” Kepler said. “But everybody on the bench was like, ‘No he didn’t.'”
“I’m honored today to even have achieved something like that,” Kepler added. “But let’s keep it going.”
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