Minnesota turns right-handed Kenta Maeda on Sunday afternoon as the twins try to win their fourth series of the season when they host the Oakland Athletics in Minneapolis.
Maeda (2: 2, 5.08 ERA), who finished second in the American League’s Cy Young Award last season, is only starting against the A’s for the second time. The first on April 21st in Oakland wasn’t pretty.
Maeda allowed seven runs with eight hits, including two home runs by Matt Olson and another by Seth Brown, over three innings in a game that the A’s eventually won in 10 innings (13-12).
Oakland, who played the last game of a six-game road trip that started by winning two out of three games at AL East in Boston, will counter right-handed Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.54 ERA).
Bassitt is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.16 in five career games and two starts against Minnesota, including 1-0 with an ERA of 2.89 in four games and two starts at Target Field.
Oakland hit four home runs to win the opener 6-1 on Friday night, but Minnesota recovered dramatically, leveling the series with a 5-4 win on Saturday afternoon.
Miguel Sano was hitting .114 when he kicked left-handed Jake Diekman in the eighth inning. But he hit a three run homer that hit the top of the limestone overlay and then hit the right bleachers to give the Twins only their second win in 10 games.
Sanos Homer, his third of the season and the first since April 15, only traveled an estimated 349 feet.
“He hit that ball well,” said Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota manager. “When it hit the seats it was a real release and the guys just loved it. It’s something we’ve been waiting for and we got it and it was huge.”
“I didn’t think (it would carry it into the stands) but he’s strong,” said A manager Bob Melvin. “It looked like the wind had blown into the right field during the game.”
Oakland led 4-1 to the end of eighth place before the Twins broke out for four runs. The last three were just Sano’s fourth hit in 28 bats against left-handers this season.
“It’s never easy to swallow a game like this,” said Melvin. “(Minnesota are) a good hit team. They know it takes 27 outs to beat them and we couldn’t get the last one today.”
The Twins still have the worst record in baseball (13-24) but hope Saturday’s comeback will spark a much-needed turnaround.
“This is something special,” said Sano. “Our team is one of the best teams in the last three years and that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do. We win, we play and we will have fun.”
“It was an emotional day I think for everyone,” added Baldelli. “It’s been an intense day in many ways. We have a moment there – it’s a moment that I think can really kickstart whatever is happening. It was a big thing for our team and a big one Thing for Miguel Sano. It was the kind of day you remember that you built off of. “
– Field level media