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Marwin returns to Twins' lineup with a bang

Minnesota scores 8 unanswered runs; Arraez hits first big league dinger
@dohyoungpark
May 21, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Marwin Gonzalez was just about the only Twins starter that didn’t get off to a hot start this April -- but that feels like a long time ago now. Gonzalez, who’s been banged up and out for the last two games with a sore finger, didn’t skip a

ANAHEIM -- Marwin Gonzalez was just about the only Twins starter that didn’t get off to a hot start this April -- but that feels like a long time ago now.

Gonzalez, who’s been banged up and out for the last two games with a sore finger, didn’t skip a beat in his return to the lineup, as he hit a game-tying homer in the sixth and an RBI double in the seventh. Rookie Luis Arraez also stayed hot, smashing his first big league home run as part of a two-hit game to lead a late explosion from the Twins’ offense in their 8-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night to secure a series victory.

Box score

The 30-year-old Gonzalez’s fifth homer of the season capped off a three-pitch sequence in the sixth inning in which the Twins hit two doubles and a homer to erase an early three-run deficit in the blink of an eye.

"We have one of the best offenses in the league and we have shown it,” Gonzalez said. “That's one thing. We never quit. We can change the game in one inning. That's basically what we did today."

With his two-hit evening, Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to an American League-leading 11 games, two shy of his career high and one short of Phillies shortstop Jean Segura’s MLB-leading 12-game streak. Gonzalez is hitting .358/.427/.552 in May and he has recorded multiple hits in three straight games.

It’s a far cry from his .167/.244/.256 line at the end of April, which represented an extended slump during which Gonzalez admitted that he didn’t feel comfortable at the plate, particularly with his plate discipline.

"Obviously, I look different at the plate,” Gonzalez said. “I've been working extra hard to get to that point. That's baseball. You go through rough times and you go through slumps. It was good that was early in the season, and I hope I can keep doing it and help the team."

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Arraez continued his torrid start in the Major Leagues with a 384-foot solo homer in the eighth inning that barely cleared the right-field wall in his second consecutive multi-hit game. Arraez, who had never been known for his power during his rise through the Twins’ organization, only had six homers in 354 career Minor League games.

“Just thankful for the opportunity, and thank God that I was able to get the first one in the big leagues,” Arraez said.

Arraez is 7-for-12 with one double, one homer and two walks to begin his career, and he has hit safely in his first four games without a strikeout. He capped off his performance on Tuesday with a diving stop at third base to retire Tommy La Stella for the game’s final out.

He received his first Major League callup last Friday after only three games in Triple-A Rochester as part of a roster crunch when both Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz required stints on the 10-day injured list, but he has certainly made his case to stay.

“Honestly, I’m not thinking about how long I’m going to be here,” Arraez said. “I'm just trying to help the team win every time I get the chance to play.”

“Luis couldn’t be playing any better, or helping us any more or having any more positive effect on our team than he is,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re going to ride this out, and I’m sure we’ll see him out there getting some more at-bats at some point while he’s here, and he’s certainly proving himself in a lot of very, very impressive ways.”

Polanco takes advantage of exaggerated shift

In a comical situation made possible by the increased prevalence of extreme infield shifts around the league, Jorge Polanco took several huge leads off third base in the seventh inning against Angels reliever Luke Bard with Los Angeles pulled into an exaggerated lefty shift against Eddie Rosario.

At one point, Bard even ran off the mound towards third base in an effort to keep Polanco closer to the base, but Polanco’s secondary leads steadily grew throughout Rosario’s seven-pitch at-bat. The lead grew as large as 43.8 feet before Rosario punched a two-run single through the shift to extend Minnesota’s lead to 7-3.

“It’s a situation where [Polanco] did a very good job of being aware of what’s going on out on the field,” Baldelli said. “Making a decision while he’s out there to, not to say make something happen, but whatever he was given, he was going to take it in that situation. And it put us in a good spot.”

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.