Offense socks four homers for second straight game in loss to White Sox
By Do-Hyoung Park
MINNEAPOLIS -- Eleven runs on 18 hits -- and it still wasn't enough.
For the second straight game, the Twins' bats absolutely shelled Chicago pitching, pounding four homers and scoring in six of the game's first nine innings. But despite four homers, including Byron Buxton's grand slam, and four batters with three-hit games, Minnesota still found itself on the wrong end of Sunday's 13-11, 12-inning defeat to the White Sox at Target Field.
"It's baseball," said second baseman Brian Dozier, who homered in the fourth and finished a triple shy of the cycle. "They swung the bats well, we did too. We had tons of opportunities, especially late, to push a run across, and the pitchers did a good job of putting up zeros and forcing extra innings."
Buxton got the ball rolling in the second inning with his third homer in four games since his recall from Triple-A Rochester, and this wasn't just an ordinary homer. It was a 417-foot grand slam to dead center field, the first of his career, and it tied the game at 4. His homer count in the last four games has now matched his total from his previous 109 games.
"Forget the hits and homers and stuff -- his approach looks a little different, which is good," Dozier said. "He seems to have a little swagger, which is good, instead of being afraid to attack balls and stuff, which you could kind of see in the past."
The 22-year-old center fielder earned a curtain call from the Target Field crowd of 22,595 after his grand slam, and he didn't stop there. He added a double and a run in the fifth inning and bunted for a single in the seventh, showcasing his versatility and a consistency that the Twins hope he can continue to show at the plate.
"It was a nice response from the crowd," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "I think that everyone's well aware of his trials, and he has a moment like that, they acknowledged it.
"You don't see curtain calls a lot in September on a last-place team."
It was the second day in a row that Buxton had homered, but he wasn't the only one. Not one, but two other Twins hitters also homered for a second consecutive game. Good timing, too, after Molitor had expressed his surprise at the team's continued show of power before Sunday's game.
Dozier stayed red-hot and went yard for his fifth time in the last six games with a solo shot in the fourth inning, his career-high 35th of the season. Miguel Sano, who hit a two-run homer on Saturday, also drove a solo home run to left-center in the seventh, his 22nd of the year.
"Sometimes when you're trying hard not to make a mistake to a guy who's hot, that's when you make the mistakes," Molitor said. "Dozier got a hanging slider there, and like he's been doing, he's not missing pitches that he has a chance to hit."
Catcher John Ryan Murphy, making his first appearance since his recall from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, had the fourth three-hit game of his career while recording his first homer and RBIs in a Twins uniform. He had been optioned to Triple-A Rochester earlier this season after starting the year with a .075 batting average through 11 appearances.
"I've been seeing the ball pretty well in Rochester the last month or so, and hopefully that can transition to seeing the ball well up here," Murphy said. "And today, I did."
Saturday and Sunday marked the first time the Twins hit four homers in back-to-back games since May 13-15, 2007.
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.