MINNEAPOLIS -- Needing a jolt following a 1-6 road trip, the Twins held a players meeting prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Rangers. But for the first seven innings, the offense was flat. Entering the eighth, the Twins had just three hits.
Down, 2-0, in the eighth, Escobar worked a walk. Two batters later, Mauer drove him in with a double. And immediately after, designated hitter Sano turned a 98-mph fastball into a double of his own to tie it.
"We really could use the win, I think primarily," manager Paul Molitor said. "We've talked about various games and how they might influence the future. I think we've kind of found out that it doesn't always have a huge effect. Every once in awhile things carry over. I'm kind of concentrating on the fact that it was a nice way for us to salvage the first game of the homestand."
While Molitor isn't getting ahead of himself, it was a marked improvement after that most recent road trip. Minnesota was outscored, 26-12, in a four-game sweep in Toronto. The Twins lost two of three games in Cleveland and their starters threw a combined nine innings, giving up 22 runs against the Indians.
"I definitely think Escobar in that at-bat, that last at-bat, had us pumped up," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "Hopefully, we ride that bike and hopefully that wheel don't follow off 'til October."
If the Twins are going to turn things around and make a playoff push -- they are 12 games behind AL Central-leading Royals -- now could be a pivotal turning point.
"I had a meeting last week in Toronto," Molitor said during the pregame with a bit of a laugh. "That didn't go ... how have we done since then?"
The Twins had another team meeting earlier in the year and Molitor noted that things got a bit better for a while. Whether that was connected to the meeting or not, Molitor doesn't know.
But this time around, the hope is that the words can translate into action -- namely better play -- before the Twins slip out of the playoff picture.
"I think every once in awhile, you have meetings where things can kind of change a little bit at least in the short term as far as energy and guys trying to pick each other up the best way they can," Molitor said pregame. "The old quote is 'The sign of great character is the ability to carry out a notion long after the mood in which it was created has passed.' So you kind of come out of those things and everybody's kind of might be jacked up a little, but now you've got to find a way to sustain that, whatever notion you're going to decide to establish and find a way to carry that out."
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.