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Escobar's 2 HRs, Rosario's defense lift Twins

Shortstop's second homer went a projected 443 feet
June 1, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the Eduardo and Eddie show for the Twins on Friday night, as Eduardo Escobar had two homers and four RBIs, while Eddie Rosario ripped an RBI single, was intentionally walked twice and made two impressive running catches in left.The pair helped the offense to another big

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the Eduardo and Eddie show for the Twins on Friday night, as Eduardo Escobar had two homers and four RBIs, while Eddie Rosario ripped an RBI single, was intentionally walked twice and made two impressive running catches in left.
The pair helped the offense to another big night, and this time it resulted in a much-needed 7-4 win over the Indians at Target Field. Minnesota had scored 16 combined runs over the previous two games, but lost both while trying to overcome large early deficits. The win helped the Twins move within 5 1/2 games of the Indians with two games left in the pivotal series.
"It was nice to see a little reversal in terms of how the game began," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Getting the three-run homer right off the bat and Rosie's RBI single, it gave us some wiggle room, which you need against them."

Unlike their last two games, it was the Twins who jumped out to an early lead. James Dozier called a team meeting before the game to address the club's recent scuffles and promptly led off with a double that set the tone. Escobar provided the big blast with a three-run shot off right-hander Carlos Carrasco.
"That pitch was low," Carrasco said. "Escobar likes a low pitch. He got a little bit in front. I thought it was a fly ball, but no, that ball is still going."

With the fans in left field chanting his name, Rosario came to the plate with two runners on and two outs in the second, and he delivered with an RBI single into center. Minnesota tacked on two more runs in the fourth on an RBI double from Ryan LaMarre -- the first extra-base hit of his career -- before the Indians opted to intentionally walk Rosario to get to Miguel Sano. Sano, who had struck out in his previous two-bats, made them pay with an RBI double to left that knocked Carrasco from the game.
"Miggy hadn't seen a fastball in his first two at-bats, and he didn't look like he was going to be able to make an adjustment," Molitor said. "They took a shot at him, and he left his slider where he could handle it."

Escobar added an insurance run with a solo homer in the seventh off reliever Josh Tomlin. It was absolutely crushed, as it had an exit velocity of 107.8 mph and went a projected 443 feet, per Statcast™, making it the longest homer of the year by a Twins hitter, surpassing Sano's 440-foot shot on April 25. It was the third homer in two days for Escobar, who leads the club with 10 blasts and recorded his fourth career multihomer game.
"I'm not a big guy," Escobar said. "For me, every time I go to home plate, I look at the ball and swing hard. I don't try to come to the plate looking for a home run. But it's just about seeing the ball and hitting it hard."

The offense was enough for right-hander Jose Berrios, who surrendered four runs on five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings to improve to 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA. Berrios gave up two runs in the third, keyed by a leadoff single from Yan Gomes and a double from Greg Allen.
Cleveland made it a two-run game with a two-run homer from Edwin Encarnacion off Berrios in the sixth. But relievers Trevor Hildenberger, Zach Duke and closer Fernando Rodney combined for three scoreless innings to snap a three-game losing streak.

"I felt good," Berrios said. "I thought I missed four pitches. The two hits in the third inning and then the sixth inning to Ramirez and Encarnacion. But I feel good about the rest of the game."
In Escobar's first five seasons in the Majors, he hit a combined 27 homers in 490 games. But dating back to last season, he has 31 homers in 179 games.
"You know he's going to take a good swing," Molitor said. "Anybody who has a tendency to pitch down in the zone, he has a chance because that's where a lot of his power comes from. The first homer was timely, and the second one was impressive."
Rosario made a highlight-reel catch in the fifth, robbing Allen of a hit with a running grab that saw the ball pop out of his glove twice before he finally corralled it. Berrios, a fellow Puerto Rico native, applauded at the mound after Rosario's catch. Rosario also made an impressive running catch in the second, racing to the left-field corner to take away a hit from Melky Cabrera.

"I always say he's an athlete," Berrios said. "It's always something new for us. It's a surprise every time. That's what we want to see for the rest of the season."

"We're still trying to tighten up and watching some of the things that are maybe not as apparent to people just following the ball, things we need to do. The guys were made aware of it and trying to take it to heart and apply it, as long as it doesn't make them more nervous trying not to make a mistake. There's got to be a little bit of freedom of being able to express yourself out there depending on what skills you can bring to the field. Good baseball isn't going to always translate into wins. It's kind of how you go about it from the first pitch to the end." -- Molitor, on the messages from recent team meetings
Right-hander Lance Lynn (3-4, 5.94 ERA) will look to build on his recent success when he takes the mound against the Indians in the third game of the series on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Over his last two starts, Lynn has allowed a combined two runs over 12 2/3 innings. He had a 3.76 ERA in five starts in May. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-3, 2.61 ERA) starts for Cleveland.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.