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Escobar takes advantage of starting chances

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

SAN FRANCISCO -- With starting shortstop Jorge Polanco set to return Monday after being placed on the bereavement list to attend his grandfather's funeral, Eduardo Escobar made the most of his opportunity at shortstop against the Giants on Sunday.

Escobar went 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three RBIs, but it wasn't enough with reliever Matt Belisle failing to protect a one-run lead in the seventh in an eventual 13-8 loss at AT&T Park. It was another strong showing from Escobar, who has been swinging the bat well in limited duty over the last week, going 8-for-16 in four games since June 4 to improve to .248/.299/.410 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 37 games this season.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- With starting shortstop Jorge Polanco set to return Monday after being placed on the bereavement list to attend his grandfather's funeral, Eduardo Escobar made the most of his opportunity at shortstop against the Giants on Sunday.

Escobar went 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three RBIs, but it wasn't enough with reliever Matt Belisle failing to protect a one-run lead in the seventh in an eventual 13-8 loss at AT&T Park. It was another strong showing from Escobar, who has been swinging the bat well in limited duty over the last week, going 8-for-16 in four games since June 4 to improve to .248/.299/.410 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 37 games this season.

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"Obviously, I felt good and was able to get some hits out there," Escobar said through a translator. "I felt good and I felt comfortable. I've been working hard with [hitting coaches] Rudy [Hernandez] and James [Rowson]. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win, so it doesn't really matter."

Escobar opened the scoring for the Twins with a solo shot off Matt Cain in the second, crushing one to deep right field with an exit velocity of 105 mph and traveling a projected 416 feet. It was both the second-hardest ball hit by Escobar this season and the second-farthest, according to Statcast™.

"It was a 3-2 count and I was looking to drive something up the middle," Escobar said. "I'm not a home run hitter, but I was able to find a pitch and just drive it."

Escobar also singled in the fourth and came through with an RBI single as part of a three-run fifth inning. Escobar's RBI single came with two outs on 1-2 slider from reliever George Kontos that caught too much of the zone.

Video: MIN@SF: Escobar tallies his second RBI with a single

Escobar also drew a two-out walk in the seventh but was stranded with Eddie Rosario grounding out to end the inning. The Twins were up 5-4 at the time and looking to add on, but the bullpen gave up nine runs over the next two innings.

His final at-bat came in the ninth with the bases loaded and nobody out against reliever Sam Dyson, and he reached on an error from first baseman Buster Posey, but was credited with an RBI.

"He had a good day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We're trying to keep Esco in the mix when we can. It doesn't always work out, and Jorge will be back tomorrow, but obvious contributions today."

As Molitor noted, Polanco's return means less playing time for Escobar, but Escobar said he knows his role as a backup infielder and just tries to be ready when called upon.

"I'll do whatever the manager wants me to do," Escobar said. "I come to the stadium like I'm going to play every day. It's a little hard to keep that mentality, but it's what I do."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Eduardo Escobar