MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar have both surprisingly powered Minnesota's offense this season, and after Rosario was the star on Sunday with his three-homer performance, it was Escobar's turn to play hero in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader.After the offense was held to just one hit through
MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar have both surprisingly powered Minnesota's offense this season, and after Rosario was the star on Sunday with his three-homer performance, it was Escobar's turn to play hero in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader.
After the offense was held to just one hit through the first seven innings, Escobar helped the Twins break out for a four-run rally in the eighth with a go-ahead three-run homer off reliever Nate Jones to lift the Twins to a 4-2 victory over the White Sox at Target Field for their fourth straight win.
"He threw a strike and I tried to hit it up the middle, but I made good contact," Escobar said. "I was surprised it went out to center field. But with two strikes and the tying run at third base, I was trying to make good contact up the middle."
The Twins rallied with two outs in the eighth against Jones, with James Dozier reaching on an infield single and Rosario drawing a walk to set up an RBI single to left from Miguel Sano. But it was Escobar who provided the big hit this time, crushing a 97.3-mph fastball to dead center for his 11th homer of the year. Escobar came out to a curtain call after the go-ahead homer.
"It looked like he choked up there a little bit to put the ball in play," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I'm going to ask him about maybe using that philosophy all the time. Not really expecting a home run."
It came after Minnesota couldn't get anything going offensively against right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and four walks. Their lone hit off Lopez was a two-out double in the fourth from Escobar, but he was stranded on a groundout from Max Kepler.
"As far as pitching against this team, I think he followed a pretty good plan," Molitor said of Lopez. "He kind of knew when to elevate with the fastball, which hit 98 [mph] at times, and he knew our guys that were chasing the slider."
Twins right-hander Fernando Romero bounced back from the worst start of his young career to turn in a strong outing, surrendering two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts over six innings. It was the first time this season he didn't issue a walk, but he was stuck with a no-decision and hasn't picked up a win since his second career start on May 7.
"I had to control myself a little bit," Romero said. "Calm down and attack the zone. That helps me more."
Romero had trouble with Yoan Moncada, who led off the game with a solo homer to center on the second pitch of the game. Moncada also singled in the fifth, stole second and scored on a two-out RBI double into the gap from Jose Abreu.
Romero's effort helped save the bullpen from being overtaxed with fellow rookie right-hander Zack Littell making his Major League debut in Game 2. Tyler Duffey threw two scoreless innings in relief and picked up the win. Fernando Rodney tossed a scoreless ninth to get his 13th save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dozier reaches on infield single: The four-run rally started innocently enough, with Dozier getting a single on a grounder that took a tough hop at third baseman Yolmer Sanchez, who recovered but Abreu couldn't handle the throw in the dirt. It set the stage for the unlikely comeback.
Escobar's homer came on a 97.3-mph fastball -- the fastest pitch for a homer by the Twins this year and the fastest offering Escobar has hit for a homer in his career. He'd never homered off a pitch faster than 95 mph before. The homer had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph at a launch angle of 27 degrees, traveling a projected 413 feet, per Statcast™.</p.>
HE SAID IT
"I was so happy. I love the moment for me, but the most important thing is winning the game."
-- Escobar, on the curtain call
Littell is set to make his Major League debut in the second game of Monday's doubleheader at Target Field. Littell, who was acquired in the trade that sent Jaime Garcia to the Yankees before last year's Trade Deadline, had a 2.57 ERA at Triple-A Rochester and went a combined 19-1 in the Minors last season. The White Sox counter with right-hander Lucas Giolito (3-6, 7.53).
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.