Sano, Hicks lead hit parade in rout of Rangers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano hit two home runs and drove in six runs to support Mike Pelfrey as the Twins defeated the Rangers, 11-1, on Wednesday night at Target Field. It's the third time a Twins player has hit two home runs this season and the first at home. His six RBIs were also the most by a Twins player this season.
Aaron Hicks had four hits including a home run off Rangers starter Nick Martinez to lead off the bottom of the first. Martinez ended up going 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits. He gave up both home runs to Sano.
"I thought we had a good game plan going in," Martinez said. "They were hunting fastball and getting there. I recognized the adjustments I had to make but didn't get there in time."
Pelfrey took a one-hit shutout into the sixth before the Rangers scored on a two-out double by Delino DeShields, a walk to Shin-Soo Choo and a single by Prince Fielder. Pelfrey, allowing just one run in seven innings, earned his first win since June 7 and snapped a five-game losing streak.
"Two months ago they kind of kicked my butt pretty good and that was kind of extra motivation coming into today," Pelfrey said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sano breaks out: Sano, vaunted for his power, showed why with the first multi-homer game of his career. He sent his first home run 432 feet and his second 404, as projected by Statcast™. His second home run, a three-run shot, went to the third deck in left field. He finished the day 3-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, a walk and six RBIs and has now hit safely in 16-of-18 games at Target Field to begin his career. More >
"I think that he continues to show remarkable patience in his at-bats, paying attention on the side to see how guys are pitching, particularly to other right-handed hitters," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Sano.
Andrus error sets up home run: The Twins had one on with two outs in the fourth when Joe Mauer hit a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Elvis Andrus got to the ball but fumbled it for an error. That kept the inning going and Sano followed with a three-run home run. Martinez did not make it out of the inning.
"It just happens," Martinez said. "Nine out of ten times he makes that play. You've got to be able to get four outs sometimes. I felt good about that inning up to the Sano home run. I felt cool and collected."
Hicks leads hit parade: Hicks, batting leadoff for the second straight game, started off the bottom of the first with a home run. The Twins tacked on three runs in both the third and fourth innings, and four in the fifth as Hicks, who has been hot since returning from the disabled list in early July, was right in the middle of the action. He finished with four hits and four runs scored. He was one of seven Twins to have more than one hit on an 18-hit night.
"He's made some adjustments on days when [he] hasn't been particularly productive," Molitor said of Hicks. "Last night he swung the bat well, didn't have much to show for it. He came back tonight and had a really good night. We like what we're seeing. He's probably going to get a chance to stay in that [leadoff] spot a little bit here."
No lead for Rangers: The Rangers entered the day having held a lead in the score at some point in 19 straight games. That was the second longest such streak currently in the Majors. But Hicks hit his home run on the third pitch from Martinez in the bottom of the first. The Rangers never led all night. More >
"I have just had a [bad] hamstring and quad, the knee has taken a little bit of a pounding. Give it a day, give it a rest and come back tomorrow." -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was scratched before Wednesday's game with a sore left knee.
Rangers: Chi Chi Gonzalez makes his eighth start for the Rangers and first since July 3 when he pitches against the Twins at 12:10 p.m. Thursday at Target Field. Gonzalez replaces Cole Hamels, who was scratched with a sore left groin muscle.
Twins: The Twins will be trying for a sweep of the Rangers with Ervin Santana on the mound at 12:10 CT at Target Field. Santana, who will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak, has given up 14 runs -- 12 earned -- in 9 ⅔ innings pitched at home this season.