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Twins hit for HR cycle, score 18 to rout Mariners

AL Central leaders 15 games over .500 for first time since 2010
@DKramer_
May 19, 2019

SEATTLE -- The Twins set records and knocked on history’s door on Saturday as they surged past the Mariners to an 18-4 win, their fifth straight and 10th in their last 13 games. Miguel Sanó unleashed his first homer of 2019, Byron Buxton clubbed his second career grand slam, C.J.

SEATTLE -- The Twins set records and knocked on history’s door on Saturday as they surged past the Mariners to an 18-4 win, their fifth straight and 10th in their last 13 games.

Miguel Sanó unleashed his first homer of 2019, Byron Buxton clubbed his second career grand slam, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop each went deep twice.

Box score | Grand slams mean 30% off pizza

“Very, very special night for our offense,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Up and down the lineup, obviously we hit some homers again, stating the obvious here, but I haven’t seen too many nights like that. Just a very special night.”

Before the Twins go for their sixth sweep of the season on Sunday and try to build on their 5 1/2-game lead, here’s a breakdown of what made Saturday night so special:

They’ve now homered five or more times in five games

That is a Major League high, and the Twins are the first to do so before June. This season, only two other teams have had three such games, and 14 clubs haven’t homered at least five times in a game this year.

“I didn’t know that until you just told me,” said Cron, who hit his 100th and 101st career homers. “But I think what our offense is, we kind of thrive off when someone is doing well, everyone else wants to do well.

“It’s kind of cool to be a part of that. It seems like one through nine, everybody wants to be aggressive and put a good swing on a baseball. With the power that we have in the lineup, if we do that consistently, we’re going to hit a lot of homers.”

Five of their six homers on Saturday came in the first three innings -- a feat that has been accomplished only 25 times in MLB history, and for the first time in Twins history.

Their six home runs on Saturday weren’t even a season high. The Twins hit eight during a 16-7 win over the Orioles in the second game of a doubleheader on April 20, which tied a franchise record.

They hit for the home run cycle

With Sano’s solo shot, Schoop’s two-run and three-run flies and Buxton’s slam, the Twins hit for the home run cycle for the first time since a 14-2 win over the Indians on Aug. 17, 1973. The most recent Major League club to hit for the home run cycle was the A’s in their 17-2 win over the Tigers on Thursday.

“There’s really no weak spots in our lineup, one through nine, and I think, as a pitcher, that can’t be a very comfortable thing,” Cron said. “They have to be on their game for every batter, and I think as the longer the game goes, as we get going, they start to make a few mistakes I think because of that.”

The Twins have homered in 13 straight games

The franchise record of 16 straight games with a homer, done three times and most recently from Sept. 1-17, 2017, is well within reach. As is the club record of 225 homers set in 1963. (The Twins are on pace for 313).

Only six other times in club history have the Twins gone on a streak of 13 games or more with a homer. Breaking the record would require the Twins to homer against teams they’ve already played during the streak: the Mariners on Sunday, who are starting Yusei Kikuchi, and the Angels for a three-game series in Anaheim.

During the streak, the Twins have hit 31 total homers. They’ve homered in 36 of 45 games this season.

Their 18 runs tied an MLB high for ‘19

The Twins matched the Dodgers as the only teams that have scored 18 runs this year. Los Angeles reached that mark on March 30 against the D-backs.

Minnesota raised its run differential to plus-77, which trails only the Astros (plus-93), who beat the Red Sox, 7-3, on Saturday to win their 10th straight game.

The Twins’ record for most runs in a game is 24, done on April 24, 1996, against the Tigers.

The Twins lead or rank near the top of MLB in most offensive categories

HR: 87 (T-1st)
SLG: .511 (1st)
OPS: .848 (2nd)
wOBA: .356 (2nd)
wRC+: 122 (2nd)
WAR: 11.4 (3rd)

They are 15 games above .500 since … when?

Sunday Oct. 3, 2010 -- the final day of the regular season and the day Minnesota won its most recent AL Central title.

“This is the kind of environment that we strive to have,” Baldelli said. “The positive energy is real, and the guys in the dugout care as much about the guy that's at-bat as they do their own. It's a great thing and it's what very good baseball teams do.”

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.