After hitting a bit of a lull offensively, averaging 2.3 runs per game during a six-game stretch from May 12-18, the Twins' offense has been coming around of late.
Minnesota scored 16 runs during its three-game series against the Royals, and broke out in a huge way against the Orioles on Monday, setting season highs in runs scored (14) and hits (21) in a 14-7 win at Camden Yards. It was the first time the Twins had at least 20 hits since Aug. 22, 2014, against the Tigers. It helped Minnesota to its fourth win over the past five games.
More importantly, it helped the Twins overcome an early 5-0 deficit and it was the club's young core that contributed mightily, as Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco both set career highs with four hits each, while Max Kepler went 3-for-6 with a homer and four RBIs, and Byron Buxton went 1-for-5 with a stolen base.
"We talk about defining moments," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You look back at those games that were difference makers and this one could definitely be up there."
Sano, who leads the Majors in average exit velocity by nearly 4 mph, only added to it, as he hit four balls harder than 100 mph according to Statcast™, including a 105.7-mph two-run homer in the ninth, a 101.1 mph single and a 110.1 mph single. Even his flyout in the third left the bat at 105 mph and went a projected 394 feet.
Kepler, who also homered Sunday, stayed hot, as he's hitting .387 with three homers and eight RBIs over his last eight games. He helped spark the comeback, hitting a solo homer in the fourth and ripping a two-run double that helped set up a four-run fifth inning to tie the game.
"He was right in the mix," Molitor said. "Aggressive tonight. First-pitch homer, first-pitch double. He swung the bat well even when he didn't get hits. He ran the bases well. Lot of guys, you can point out in terms of offensive production, but he had an outstanding night."
Despite his four hits, Polanco only had one RBI, but it was a big one, as it tied the game in the fifth, scoring Kepler with a single to right. He said the players never stopped believing they'd come back despite the early deficit.
"We stayed motivated to come back and we knew we were going to come back," Polanco said. "We just kept faith and kept battling."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.