MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Jake Cave made history Saturday night, becoming the 11th Twins player to homer in his Major League debut with his two-run shot off Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta in the fourth inning of Minnesota's 5-4 loss at Target Field.Cave, who was called up before the game with
MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Jake Cave made history Saturday night, becoming the 11th Twins player to homer in his Major League debut with his two-run shot off Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta in the fourth inning of Minnesota's 5-4 loss at Target Field.
Cave, who was called up before the game with Joe Mauer placed on the 10-day disabled list with a neck strain and concussion-like symptoms, jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Peralta with one out in the fourth. It was a no-doubter, leaving the bat at 111.4 mph at a launch angle of 25 degrees and traveling a projected 393 feet to right, per Statcast™.
"It felt really good," said Cave, who had eight family members in attendance, including his parents from Hampton, Va. "I just wanted to go out there and compete today. To be able to get the barrel on the baseball like that, it's cool. It's everything I thought it would be."
For context, Cave's homer was the second-hardest-hit homer by a Twins player this year, behind only Miguel Sano's shot off Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray on April 25 that had an exit velocity of 114.6 mph.
"I saw some of his pitches that first at-bat, so I kind of knew what he had," Cave said of Peralta. "He had that little cutter, and I went up there and if he threw me that cutter middle of the plate, that was the pitch I was looking for. He did it and I had a runner on base, and I just maybe wanted to get the run around and get an RBI, but I got it pretty good."
Cave, 25, had just one homer in 35 games with Triple-A Rochester this year, but he hit a combined 20 homers between Double-A and Triple-A with the Yankees' organization last year.
"I think that part of his game has developed in the last season-plus," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The numbers kind of escalated last year. It's just one of those things where he obviously has a bit of an upper-cut."
Cave, who went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, was helped by replay in his first at-bat, as he was originally ruled out on a 4-6-3 double-play attempt by the Brewers, but the call was overturned. Cave then stole second base and scored on a two-out double from Bobby Wilson.
"First at-bat was good, put it in play," Molitor said. "Did a nice job of getting down the line, stealing a base, and aggressive in the next at-bat and hits a homer. It was good. Didn't have any real tough plays, but he looked like he navigated center field OK, so you have to say it was a pretty good first day."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.