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Escobar goes deep in bid to remain at SS

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eduardo Escobar has been swinging a hot bat since mid-June and it continued against the Tigers on Sunday, although an impressive 13-pitch at-bat ended in a key strikeout during a 9-6 loss to the Tigers at Target Field.

Escobar, who entered hitting .321/.383/.495 over his last 33 games dating back to June 11, crushed a two-run homer in the third, which was the hardest-hit ball by Escobar since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. The homer, which came off lefty Matthew Boyd with the switch-hitting Escobar batting right-handed, left Escobar's bat at 108.4 mph and went a projected 438 feet into the third deck in left field. It was also the second-farthest-hit ball by Escobar since 2015, just six feet off his career high.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Eduardo Escobar has been swinging a hot bat since mid-June and it continued against the Tigers on Sunday, although an impressive 13-pitch at-bat ended in a key strikeout during a 9-6 loss to the Tigers at Target Field.

Escobar, who entered hitting .321/.383/.495 over his last 33 games dating back to June 11, crushed a two-run homer in the third, which was the hardest-hit ball by Escobar since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. The homer, which came off lefty Matthew Boyd with the switch-hitting Escobar batting right-handed, left Escobar's bat at 108.4 mph and went a projected 438 feet into the third deck in left field. It was also the second-farthest-hit ball by Escobar since 2015, just six feet off his career high.

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"I'm not a home-run hitter," Escobar said with a smile. "But yeah, I was able to connect well and drive it. I don't think I'll be able to do that again."

Escobar came up in the eighth in a critical situation with the bases loaded and two outs with the Twins down by one run. Escobar, batting left-handed, had a battle with right-handed reliever Shane Greene, fouling off eight pitches in the at-bat, including four consecutive pitches with a full count.

Video: DET@MIN: Greene strands bases loaded with 13-pitch K

The at-bat ended on the 13th pitch with Greene blowing a 96.3-mph fastball past Escobar for a strikeout to leave the bases loaded. It was still an impressive effort from Escobar, who started the game at third before moving over to shortstop.

"You have to give credit to that pitcher where it's due," Escobar said. "He was throwing his best stuff at me, but someone has to win it. And obviously he won. He did a good job and was able to get me. The last pitch, I was trying to hit it up the middle but he beat me."

With Molitor saying he plans to rotate shortstops going forward between Jorge Polanco, Ehire Adrianza and Escobar, Escobar made a statement that he can continue to provide offense, especially with his underrated power. Escobar has nine homers in 70 games with a .442 slugging percentage, and is only three off his career best of 12 homers set in '15.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Eduardo Escobar