Twins' offense turns corner in set with Royals
MINNEAPOLIS -- After being routed in the home opener against the Royals on Monday, the Twins were 1-6 and still reeling after a frustrating first week of the season.
But they bounced back, winning two straight against previously-unbeaten Kansas City, including an 8-5 win in the rubber game on Thursday afternoon that saw Minnesota post season high totals in both hits (14) and runs. It was the first series victory of the season and it came against a club that entered the series with a 6-0 record.
"You're talking about the hottest team in baseball so just to take two of three from probably the best team in baseball, it shows we do have the capabilities of competing on a day-to-day basis," said Twins right fielder Torii Hunter, who had a season-high three hits in Thursday's win. "Those first six or seven games were ugly, but that wasn't us. I think we found ourselves."
Hunter said the Twins never hit the panic button after their rough first week, and that he could see their mentality started to shift before Wednesday's 3-1 win.
"I definitely think it feels different," Hunter said. "We got to the park yesterday and the vibe was totally different. So that's a plus."
Catcher Kurt Suzuki echoed Hunter's comments, as he said the team never got too down despite their slow start and that the series win will help build confidence.
"It always gets magnified when you lose games early on," Suzuki said. "So to get a series win, especially against a team that was as red-hot as these guys, was nice."
So while pitching and defense led the Twins to their win on Wednesday, it was the offense that finally broke out on Thursday. Kennys Vargas and Suzuki both connected on two-run homers, while Joe Mauer had three RBIs. They knocked Royals left-hander Jason Vargas from the game after three-plus innings, and looked much more like the offense that finished seventh in the Majors in runs scored last season.
"It's nice to see us put some runs and some hits on the board," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We needed them. Kansas City is a scrappy team and comebacks were a part of their story last year. So it was good to get production."
Molitor, who likes to stay even-keel, tried to keep the morale high in the clubhouse the first week, and believes things are finally starting to head in the right direction.
"Even among the 1-6 [start], we were trying to find positives," Molitor said. "We think we have some guys who can play. We're trying to get better. So to come back and win a couple games against Kansas City after being down, is a good sign."