PITTSBURGH -- Logan Morrison snapped an 0-for-13 funk to open the season with a go-ahead RBI double as part of a four-run sixth, while Eduardo Escobar doubled twice and Miguel Sano went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help the Twins to a 7-3 win over the Pirates to clinch a
PITTSBURGH -- Logan Morrison snapped an 0-for-13 funk to open the season with a go-ahead RBI double as part of a four-run sixth, while Eduardo Escobar doubled twice and Miguel Sano went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help the Twins to a 7-3 win over the Pirates to clinch a winning road trip on a cold and snowy Wednesday night at PNC Park. Minnesota went 3-2 against the Orioles and Pirates before heading home for the Target Field opener on Thursday.
Morrison, starting at first base over Joe Mauer with National League rules in effect, made his first hit with his new club count, as he smacked an RBI double into the right-field corner to score Sano from first after he tied the game with an RBI single to plate James Dozier. Escobar followed with his second double of the game to score Morrison before Byron Buxton added an RBI double of his own to cap the scoring in the sixth.
"I think he feels pretty good about it," Twins manager Paul Molitor said with a smile. "But I don't think he was putting any pressure on himself. I'm sure getting that first one was a relief for him."
Morrison's go-ahead hit came on a 2-2 fastball, and Sano was able to score from first despite peeking at the right-field corner as he rounded third, as he lost sight of third-base coach Gene Glynn.
"I was just battling, trying to get the barrel on something. I've been feeling comfortable in the box, but whenever I make contact, something [bad] happens," Morrison said. "But it's just one of those things. It's been like 15 at-bats. Keep working and it'll fall."
Dozier got the Twins on the board with a solo shot in the third -- his fourth this season, which is tied for the Major League lead. Sano sparked a rally in the fourth with a leadoff double before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Escobar and padded Minnesota's lead with an RBI single in the seventh to score Eddie Rosario from first, as he was running on the pitch.
"We used a couple ways to manufacture runs," Dozier said. "We had some big hits and some big doubles, but we also had great baserunning. Rosario on that long single, we practice that in Spring Training. That's what I'm talking about with creating runs."
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi was hurt by a two-run homer from Josh Bell in the first and went 4 1/3 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks. But the bullpen was sharp, with Taylor Rogers getting out of a jam in the fifth with the help of Rosario throwing out Gregory Polanco at the plate. Trevor Hildenberger tossed two scoreless frames, Addison Reed threw a scoreless eighth and closer Fernando Rodney preserved the win in a non-save situation.
"What a job by the bullpen tonight, picking me up right there," Odorizzi said. "[Rogers] got two big outs and [Rosario] came up huge with that throw. It was kind of a momentum-shifter. We ended up taking the lead shortly after that. The offense and bullpen picked me up so I'll return the favor."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sheriff Rosario: The Pirates looked as though they were going to add to their lead in the fifth, when Corey Dickerson singled to left with two and two out. But Rosario threw out Polanco at home as he tried to score from second to keep it a one-run game. The Twins took the lead for good the next inning.
"I felt good on the throw," said Rosario, who dealt with triceps tendinitis in Spring Training. "It was a tough play. There was snow and cold, but I wanted to do a good job and save the run and help the pitcher."
Popup drop: Dozier drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rosario then hit a high popup about 6 feet in front of home plate. Catcher Francisco Cervelli and starter Ivan Nova clearly lost the ball in the air, and Bell did not get under it. The ball dropped, and Bell made the safe play by throwing out Rosario at first. Dozier took advantage, safely dashing to third on the play. That left him in ideal position to score the tying run when Sano, the next batter, singled to right. Sano finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Right-hander Tyler Glasnow appeared to pick off Rosario at first base after a walk in the seventh inning. Rosario was initially ruled safe, however, and the call was upheld after a two-minute, 59-second replay review. The Pirates lost their challenge, and the baserunner proved to be costly. One pitch later, with Rosario running from first, Sano slapped an RBI single to left field.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson is set to start the Target Field home opener for the Twins on Thursday against the Mariners at 3:10 p.m. CT. Gibson has yet to allow a hit this year, as he threw six hitless innings against the Orioles on Saturday before being taken out after 102 pitches. Mauer is also expected to return to first base after Morrison started in his place on Wednesday.
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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.