Youngsters come through vs. Mariners
Twins get encouraging view of future as they snap skid
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins got encouraging news pregame Thursday on their top prospect, Byron Buxton, who is inching closer to his return from injury. And just a few hours later, they got more promising glimpses of their future, as they were led by a team of youngsters in their 9-5 victory over the Mariners.
Perhaps none were more impactful than left fielder Eddie Rosario, who was just a single away from the cycle after homering in the first, doubling in the third and tripling in the fifth.
After flying out in the sixth, Rosario had one more chance in the eighth, but shortstop Brad Miller robbed him of his first Major League cycle, leaping up and snaring a hard liner.
Rosario said he hit for the cycle once in extended Rookie League, but Thursday was the closest he had come in the Majors to the feat.
"I hit a line drive and said 'I got it,' but he made a good play," Rosario said. "It's OK."
Center fielder Aaron Hicks, another youngster, finished the day with three hits, his second three-hit game in as many days. It was the fifth straight game in which Hicks had recorded two or more hits and at one point, he found himself intentionally walked to get to Joe Mauer, a guy with three American League batting titles to his name.
"It's the most comfortable I've seen him," manager Paul Molitor said of Hicks. "I think day in and day out, left-handed, right-handed, he's just putting together good at-bats. He's aggressive early but he's still working the strike zone a little better."
Though Rosario and Hicks headlined the show, three more rookies played significant roles in the victory, starting with Miguel Sano, who made two nice picks in the first inning. Sano, who has been used primarily as a designated hitter, made just his second start at third base since being called up early this month and added a single and scored a run.
Shortstop Jorge Polanco, who was called up Wednesday when third baseman Trevor Plouffe went on the paternity list, also had a pair of hits, an RBI, stole a base and scored a run.
"He handled himself fine in the field. He looks like a cool customer at the plate," Molitor said. "Just quality at-bats, that's kind of the report we've gotten and that's what we saw tonight."
And to cap it off, Trevor May, a starter-turned-reliever, pitched a scoreless eighth inning, despite giving up a hit.
"He's still transitioning. It hasn't been all that many appearances but it seems like he's more comfortable," Molitor said. "I think he's not afraid to challenge guys. And for a team that has been struggling as of late, losing 8 of 10, seeing the youngsters step up was a welcome sight.
"After you go through these last four days, any kind of win is good," Molitor said.