Twins make MLB history as quickest to 200 HRs

Kepler hits his 27th homer as Minnesota bats around in 2nd inning

July 27th, 2019

CHICAGO -- It seems like the Twins are breaking a new home run record every night, as they continue to hit the ball out of the ballpark at a historic rate.

Minnesota continued its power surge, adding two more homers to its season total in Friday night’s 6-2 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Twins became the fastest team in MLB history to reach 200 home runs in a season, accomplishing the feat in just 103 games.

Max Kepler hit the record-setting home run in the second inning off White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease, as the Twins’ home run leader (27) drilled a 3-2 curveball to right field, giving them a 5-0 lead and sending this year's club into the record books, again.

“It just flashed across the screen. It's pretty cool. It's special,” Kepler said. “I looked at the lineup before Spring Training and was like, ‘This team can do damage. It's just a matter of if we stay healthy and in the right mindset.’ And we have done that so far. It’s been pretty fun to watch."

The Twins shattered the 2005 Rangers' previous mark as the fastest to 200 homers, with that year's Texas club taking 122 games to accomplish the feat, according to Elias.

“They've got some young men that have grown up now within their system that have done some damage,” White Sox manager Ricky Renteria said. “We're going to try to minimize that as we continue to play them and do the best we can to win some ballgames. But obviously, today that wasn't to be.”

On Thursday in the series opener against the White Sox, Minnesota became the first team in Major League history to have nine games of five-plus home runs. The previous record was eight by the 1977 Red Sox.

The 2019 Twins’ offensive jolt has come from a variety of players throughout the lineup, but Kepler and ageless wonder Nelson Cruz have the Twins on the precipice of something special with last year’s Yankees’ Major League record of 267 home runs just waiting to fall.

Cruz, who homered for the fifth consecutive game, signed a one-year deal with Minnesota, and the 39-year-old’s presence in the Twins’ lineup can’t be overlooked.

“It's just consistency,” Kepler said. “He doesn't get away from his approach and his plan. That's why he's been in the league for so long. Keeps his body healthy, and he always seems to be in a positive mood. That's how you can tell the good players apart from the ones that kind of have some good seasons and fade. He sticks with it through thick and thin. Always fun to be around. Homers is what he does. He's always done that.”

Besides the outrageous pace the Twins have been on through 103 games, what makes Minnesota’s prolific run toward history so unique is how its approach is breaking baseball’s current trend.

The Twins lead MLB with 201 home runs this season, but the team ranks just 27th in baseball in strikeouts. As the league’s strikeout numbers increase at a record pace, the Twins’ ability to not sacrifice their approach for power is a breath of fresh air.

“First of all, it comes down to the players. We have good players and they’re good Major League hitters,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “When I say that, they’re well above average at what they do at the plate, so they have the skills and the talent and the ability to do it. I also think we have a few guys that don’t strike out very often by nature, which probably adds to that.

“I think our guys have done a great job of being ready when we don’t get what we want. We generally are selective, but if we see a pitch to hit early, we swing, and I see a lot of positive qualities in the way that we handle our at-bats and the approaches that we have.”