Twins catcher continues torrid June with career-best six RBIs
By Do-Hyoung Park
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, who has hit all of one triple over the last four seasons, might have briefly entertained the idea of going to third on his eighth-inning double to complete his first career cycle in the Twins' 14-10 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Target Field. But he quickly thought better of it.
"Everybody was convinced that I would have been close, but I wasn't so convinced," Suzuki said. "I didn't want to make it look like a mockery, where you try to go for the cycle and make the last out at third, so I stopped."
So instead of finishing the cycle, he had to settle for just a career-best six-RBI night after that two-run double, his second of the game, helped him surpass his previous career-high of five set almost exactly eight years ago on June 20, 2008.
Suzuki had also knocked a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season and his third in the last eight games, as part of a 4-for-5 performance that helped him continue his torrid month of June at the plate.
After hitting .212 with one home run and driving in 11 runs in April and May combined, he has hit .365 with three homers and 14 RBIs in June, with his six RBIs on Tuesday night helping push Minnesota to its first double-digit run total of the season.
"I feel warm -- it's not 10 degrees outside and I can feel the bat," said Suzuki, who also became the all-time RBI leader among MLB players born in Hawaii, surpassing Shane Victorino. "It's one of those things -- like they say in baseball, you find that comfort zone and you get a good pitch to hit and you don't miss it."
As a player who has been in the league for a while, Suzuki understands that every hitter will go through his ebbs and flows at the plate, though he does find it unfortunate that his "ebb" this season was at the start of the year amid a tough stretch for the team.
"You don't want to do it at the start of the year like I did, but you've just got to keep grinding, keep working and see what happens," Suzuki said.
Suzuki has raised his season batting average to .265 and has been taking many better at-bats as of late, and manager Paul Molitor hopes that his veteran catcher's success serves as a good example to some of the Twins' younger hitters as Minnesota searches for more consistent offensive production.
"He has been surging," Molitor said. "We're seeing a little bit of power and he's getting some hits with runners in scoring position, which is something we've been lacking as a unit. You just hope that some of the guys watch these people that are taking good at-bats in those situations and start to get some results."
Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.