Twins break out bats in 9-6 win over Astros
yler Farmer had three hits, including a three-run home run, in Minnesota’s 9-6 victory at Target Field
Through the Twins’ first seven games of the season, they had been carried by their starting pitching — the best in Major League Baseball to date.
On Saturday, it was the offense’s turn to pick up the slack. And it sure did.
Kyle Farmer had three hits, including a three-run home run, Christian Vázquez had a pair of important run-scoring hits, and Byron Buxton’s first big blast of the year added some insurance in Saturday’s 9-6 victory over the Houston Astros at Target Field.
Farmer, who delivered the walk-off hit against the Astros a day earlier, started his day with a three-run home run to give the Twins a lead in the second inning. He later added a double and a single, scoring three of the team’s runs.
“I think anybody wants to make a good impression,” said Farmer, who was traded to Minnesota from the Reds in November.
He sure has.
“Kyle Farmer has given us a lot of everything,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I could say a little of everything, but it’s not even a little bit of everything. He’s been incredible in the field. He’s had great at-bats. And then he comes out today and just really leads the way.”
Farmer and Co. staked Joe Ryan to a four-run lead, but the starter was unable to hold it. In the third, he gave up two quick singles and a walk to set a bases-loaded stage for Yordan Alvarez, one of the best hitters in baseball.
When Ryan left a fastball over the heart of the plate, Alvarez didn’t miss.
“(I) didn’t execute to one of the best hitters in the game, and that happens,” Ryan said.
But Ryan settled in nicely after that, retiring the last 11 batters he faced after the Alvarez grand slam. Ryan struck out 10, one shy of his career high.
Those 10 were part of a 17-strikeout day for Twins pitchers, who have fanned 33 Astros batters over the past two days. Vázquez, who was behind the plate for all 33, has played a big role in the team’s early pitching success, with Twins pitchers crediting him for his work.
“He’s had some big at-bats for us, too,” Baldelli said. “He’s had some good swings on the offensive side, but the work he’s done with our pitchers, it’s been phenomenal.”
His work at the plate was solid on Saturday, too. In the sixth inning, Vázquez — who played for the Astros last year — untied a 4-4 game with a run-scoring single that he punctuated with a bat flip. He drove in another run in the eighth inning.
And then Buxton helped put the game out of reach, slamming a fastball at 110.8 mph off the bat and depositing it 419 feet away in the second deck.
Things got slightly closer than the Twins would have liked after that, and they eventually turned the ball over to Jhoan Duran to shut the door after Jovani Moran gave up a pair of ninth-inning runs. Duran did so with ease, striking out Yainer Diaz — the only batter he faced — on three pitches.
And with that, the Twins, who lost all six games last season against the eventual World Series champion, sealed a series victory.
“We always have a game plan going into the day, and we all just stuck to that game plan, nine versus one, and when you stick to it and stay positive, things happen,” Buxton said.
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