MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano had an impressive night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double while also making a diving play at third base, to help the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Royals on a rainy Friday night in the series opener at Target Field that saw two weather
MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano had an impressive night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double while also making a diving play at third base, to help the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Royals on a rainy Friday night in the series opener at Target Field that saw two weather delays totaling 2 hours, 24 minutes.
Sano, playing in his sixth game after a six-week stint in the Minors to work on his conditioning and swing after offseason shin surgery, ripped a two-run double as part of a three-run second inning against Royals starter Heath Fillmyer. It helped the Twins to an early lead before a rain delay of 1 hour, 31 minutes that began in the top of the fourth inning with Jake Odorizzi pitching and one out.
"It was a long night but it's always easier when you win," manager Paul Molitor said. "I thought there were some good signs tonight [for Sano]. There are just little things he's doing. He's more confident with his swing. We'll keep him giving opportunities."
Odorizzi gave up two runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings before coming out of the game due to the first delay. The two runs came on a homer from Salvador Perez in the third. Lefty Gabriel Moya, who got the win in relief, came in after the rain and induced an inning-ending double play, but he gave up two runs in the fifth on an RBI single from Alex Gordon and a sacrifice fly by Lucas Duda.
"I just made one bad pitch middle of the plate down," Odorizzi said. "He put a good swing on it and it got out of here. It's hard to look back on a game when I pitched five hours ago it seems like."
The Twins, though, regained the lead in the fifth with Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco singling to open the frame. John Forsythe, making his first start with the Twins since being acquired in a trade with the Dodgers on Tuesday, brought home a run with an RBI groundout before Max Kepler walked with two out. Sano then beat out on an infield single to load the bases for Jake Cave, who drew a walk to plate a run. Sano is hitting .300 with three doubles since returning to the Twins.
"I told him not to expect too much early," Molitor said. "And keep doing your thing, and I think he's been getting rewarded for that."
Minnesota tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI double down the left-field line from Polanco to score Rosario from first. But after the double, there was a second rain delay of 53 minutes. Both offenses were quiet after the delay with relievers Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers and closer Fernando Rodney each throwing a scoreless inning.
"There were a couple lead changes, but we came right back and added on," Molitor said. "Our bullpen did a really nice job all the way down to the end. You'll take the win."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
May strikes out the side: Reliever Trevor May, making his second appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2017, was impressive in the sixth, registering three strikeouts with his fastball sitting at 95 mph to go along with his slider that hit as high as 90 mph. It was a strong showing from May, who could see higher-leverage situations down the stretch.
"It was good," Molitor said. "We put him in a spot where we had taken the lead when he came in the game and we needed a shutdown inning, and he got the job done. I thought the velocity was good."
Sano was moving in the fifth when he reached on an infield single, as his sprint speed was 28.8 feet per second, according to Statcast™. It's above both the Major League level of 27 feet per second and Sano's average of 26.2 feet per second this season, which is evidence he's moving better after his stint in the Minors.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Sano made a great diving stop and throw to save a run from scoring to end the top of the fifth on a hard-hit grounder down the left-field line from Rosell Herrera with two runners on. Sano made a full-extension dive to make the grab and fired a strong throw to first with Joe Mauer making the scoop. It helped Moya get out of a jam and showcased why the Twins believe Sano can stick at the position.
"He's out here early every day working on things," Molitor said. "I think he feels better about how his body is performing, whether it's what he's able to do in the box or on the defensive side. That was a really nice defensive play and on the other end of it, Joe corralling a 110-mph throw on the wet grass hydroplaning. That was pretty impressive."
Right-hander Oliver Drake, who was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Friday, will join the Twins on Saturday with fellow reliever Matt Magill headed to the paternity list to attend the birth of his child in San Diego. Drake, 31, posted a 7.57 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in 27 1/3 innings with the Brewers, Indians, Angels and Blue Jays this season.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (10-8, 3.56 ERA) will start for the Twins in the second game of the series against the Royals at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Target Field. Berrios had trouble pitching deep into the game at Fenway Park last time out, giving up three runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Righty Burch Smith (1-2, 6.00 ERA) starts for Kansas City.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.