Two-strike hits and two-out runs. Almost as promising as the Twins’ 8-1 record in May is this: Even the team’s youngest players are learning how to come through in the clutch. Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Escobar and Eddie Rosario — average age: 24 — smacked back-to-back-to-back two-out, run-scoring singles Saturday, helping the Twins keep their May magic alive with a 7-4 victory over the Indians. “Kids. Yeah,” manager Paul Molitor said after his team moved — who would have thought this possible? — within 1½ games of first place in the AL Central. “We talk a lot about how [confidence] plays with a young team. Confidence is the way you get the best results. It’s a matter of finding a way to sustain it.” The trio of Vargas, Escobar and Rosario found a way to sustain an inning that was on the verge of fizzling, and “it really changed the complexion of the game,” Molitor said. After a Dozier double and a Torii Hunter single got the third inning started against Cleveland starter Bruce Chen, Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki struck out. That brought up the kids — and the rally was alive once more. Vargas smashed a single to left, scoring Dozier. Escobar got down 0-and-2, then hit a grounder up the middle for an infield hit that scored Hunter. Rosario, in his fourth major league game, got behind 0-2 as well but then punched another single into left field that scored Vargas from second. “Rosario, he’s learning, but he’s up there with an idea and a plan. To get a hit in that situation was big,” Molitor said. “You go from potentially squandering an opportunity to putting three on the board there,” and those runs gave Phil Hughes a cushion as he worked his way toward his second consecutive victory.
Twins continue their climb in Cleveland
Minneapolis Star Tribune | May 10