Round-trippers, snapped skids help Twins regain 'swagger'

Round-trippers, snapped skids help Twins regain 'swagger'

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins entered Wednesday's game against the Royals with an almost unthinkable 0-17 record against the division-rival Royals, Tigers and White Sox.

But the Twins were able to snap an eight-game losing streak to Kansas City with a 7-5 win powered by homers from Eduardo Nunez, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano. Right-hander Tyler Duffey labored through a five-run fourth inning and was able to last 6 2/3 innings to become the first Twins starter to get a second win in the club's 46th game of the year.

"It's good to win a game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Our homestand was mostly a struggle, going 2-5. But we've had a lot of series where the disappointing aspect has been sweeps. We try to salvage something, but we haven't really found a way to do that. So to come back and find a way to win a game today was good."

As Molitor noted, the Twins were in danger of being swept for a Major League-leading eighth time this season after being swept six times last year. But they were able to get out to an early lead keyed by back-to-back homers from Nunez and Dozier to open the first against right-hander Dillon Gee. It was the first time the Twins opened a game with two homers since June 9, 2014.

Minnesota fell behind after the five-run fourth, but Sano crushed a go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth off Gee that proved to be the game-winner. It was a good sign for the Twins, as Sano was in a 2-for-22 slump, while Dozier wasn't in the starting lineup on Monday and Tuesday after a 1-for-16 skid. Byung Ho Park also chipped in with an insurance run on an RBI single in the eighth to snap a 1-for-24 funk.

Sano's two-run homer

"We saw some people who were having a hard time get some big hits," Molitor said. "To see Brian get a home run and get rewarded for some of the work, and Miguel has been fighting it, too. I think he has the makeup to get through this thing, but it was nice to see him get it out of the park. And Byung Ho's base hit -- with runners in scoring position, he's been fighting himself -- but got us a big insurance run."

Park's RBI single

Dozier said he felt like the early lead helped their mentality. Even after they fell behind, they didn't lose faith that they'd be able to come back. It was also a confidence-booster for the back end of the bullpen, as Trevor May had a 27.03 ERA over his previous five outings but struck out Lorenzo Cain to get out of a jam in the seventh. Closer Kevin Jepsen also threw a scoreless ninth for his first save without allowing a run since April 16.

Jepsen's fourth save

"It feels a lot better in here after a win," Dozier said. "We played a lot better baseball today. It's obviously always good to score early, and you see the life and some of the swagger come back. We felt that from the first inning. It was good to see."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.