Offense keeps clicking with six-run second
Twins 19-6 when scoring first, which they've done in eight straight games
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins just keep finding ways to score early, and it was again the case in a 7-2 win over the Red Sox on Monday at Target Field.
Minnesota knocked Boston right-hander Joe Kelly out of the game after just 1 1/3 innings, scoring six runs in the second inning. It marked the eighth straight game the Twins scored first, and they're 6-2 over that span. The Twins are 19-6 when they score before their opponent, and it's helped them to a surprising start with a 26-18 record that has them second in the American League Central.
"Teams that score first have a tendency to win more," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It goes to the preparation of these guys coming ready to play from the first inning on. You go back to [former manager] Tom Kelly's days here and his motto was, 'Be ready for the first inning.' And our recent trend has been to get on the board early and it's leading to a lot of wins for us."
The Twins scored in the first on a sacrifice fly from Joe Mauer after Brian Dozier led off with a double to mark the sixth time in seven games they scored in the first. But it was the second inning where they did their most damage, as they opened with four straight hits, including an RBI double from Eduardo Nunez and an RBI single from Eddie Rosario.
Trevor Plouffe provided the big blast with a three-run homer to left to give the Twins a 7-0 lead that was plenty for right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who gave up just two runs over a season-high 7 2/3 innings to improve to 5-0 with a 3.77 ERA in May.
All nine position players had a hit by the third, with the club's bottom six hitters collecting at least two hits each.
"It's kinda what we've done all season long," Plouffe said. "If the top of our lineup isn't doing it, then the bottom of our lineup picks us up. Or vice versa. That's the lineup we have. It's balanced and on any given night, anyone can step up."
It's been indicative of the offense this season, as the Twins don't have any one player carrying the load, but rank tied for seventh in the Majors in runs scored with 204 runs.
"It's everybody," said right fielder Torii Hunter. "If one guy doesn't get it done, then the next guy picks him up. That's what it's all about. Baseball is so tough that one guy isn't going to get it done every day."
Hunter said it's been fun to be a part of, and said the club is proving him right that it's ready to compete despite what preseason prognosticators said.
"All the people who said we weren't going to do anything and I told you we were," Hunter said. "Look what we're doing."