Highly touted duo looking to push Twins toward postseason
By Connor Smolensky
BALTIMORE -- Minnesota fans saw something Thursday night they had been waiting for for a long time: Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton in the same lineup.
Two of Minnesota's most promising young prospects were in the starting lineup together for the first time at the Major League level, both batting in the top half of the order and contributing to the Twins' 15-2 romp over the Orioles.
Buxton finished the game 1-for-6 with a run scored, and Sano went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and three runs scored. The homer was his 10th in 41 Major League games, making him the fastest in Twins history to reach the mark. Marty Cordova held the previous record, doing so in 48 games.
"It feels like Double-A again, but better," Buxton said of being back with Sano. "Just want to go out there and have fun out there like we did, and try and help us win."
Sano made his debut with the Twins on July 2, and Buxton rejoined the team for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list June 26 with a sprained left thumb.
The Twins' No. 1 prospect came off the DL on Aug. 10 and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. In 13 games, Buxton hit .400 with a homer, three doubles and a triple, collecting a hit in each contest.
"Kind of found that routine that I had my 2013 season," Buxton said of the year he hit .334/.424/.520 across two Class A levels. "I stuck with it every day, and the better the routine got, the better I felt at the plate. Just went up there and had good at-bats and took a good approach."
Buxton said he changed his running routine and started taking early batting practice, which he credits to his increase in offensive production. Minnesota hopes he continues to swing a hot bat down the stretch, as the Twins are three games out of the American League's second Wild Card spot.
"When you look at the numbers, it looks like he came back tearing the cover off the ball," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Realistically, he's been getting some rust off his game after missing for eight, nine weeks. Some of the issues he battled up here originally, pitch recognition and trying to get strikes, is still ongoing. He's still trying to get better at it. When I looked at my options and how the overall offense shaped up, we are going to give him a shot."
Buxton played in 11 games with Minnesota earlier in the season, hitting for a .189 average. His promotion from Rochester comes as a corresponding move to Aaron Hicks being placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain suffered in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Yankees.
Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.