Ryan Doumit became the third player in Twins history to homer from both sides of the plate.
By TYLER MASONFS North
Ryan Doumit did something Sunday that had only been done twice previously in Minnesota Twins history — he homered from both sides of the plate in the same game. In doing so, Doumit helped the Twins earn a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals in the series finale.
It began with Doumit's first at-bat of the game, as Doumit — hitting as a left-handed batter — reached for a Jeremy Guthrie curveball on the outer half of the plate and sent it over the fence in right field. It was Doumit's eighth home run of the season and it gave the Twins an early 1-0 lead.
Then, Doumit led off the sixth inning against left-handed reliever Tim Collins, which turned the switch-hitting Doumit around to the right side of the plate. Doumit connected on a 2-2 changeup from Collins and went deep to left
Two home runs, one from each side of the plate for Doumit. It was part of a three-hit day in which Doumit drove in a season-high four runs — two runners scored on his two-out single in the top of the third inning.
"It's just getting reps, spending time in the cage and staying within your approach," Doumit said of switch hitting. "Especially nowadays when you've got the situational-type righties or lefties that come in and try to switch you around. You just try to stick with your approach and go from there."
Before Sunday, only two Twins players had gone deep from both sides of the plate in the same game. The first instance was back on May 30, 1986 when infielder Roy Smalley homered once from each side against the Red Sox. He first took Boston's Rob Woodward deep in the bottom of the third inning for a solo shot as a left-handed and later switched to the right side of the plate and hit a three-run shot off reliever Joe Sambito in the bottom of the seventh.
Six years later in 1992, Chili Davis homered from both sides of the plate in a game against Kansas City. Davis' first homer came in the top of the sixth inning, a two-run blast off Chris Haney as a right-handed batter. In his next at-bat, Davis homered as left-handed batter to lead off the eighth inning against Royals reliever Steve Shifflett. That was Davis' final homer of the 1992 season.
Now, Doumit's name will be next to Smalley and Davis in the Twins' record book as the only players with homers from both sides of the plate in the same game.
"It's pretty cool. That's great company," Doumit said. "Chili Davis and Roy Smalley, those are two great players. It's an honor to be in that company. Once again, this was a great win for our team."
According to baseball-almanac.com, Doumit's performance Sunday was the 162nd time an American League batter accomplished the feat of home runs from both sides of the plate in a game. The Yankees' Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both did so in April of this season. Yasmani Grandal of San Diego also homered as both a left-handed and right-handed batter on June 30 this season.
Doumit originally signed a one-year, $3 million deal with Minnesota this offseason, but the Twins inked him to a two-year extension late last month that will pay him $3.5 million a year in 2013 and 2014. Earlier this week, Doumit demonstrated his versatility by making his first career start in left field. He's also caught, played right field and first base for Minnesota this year, as well as designated hitter (which he was in Sunday's series finale).
On Sunday, Doumit showed his ability to switch hit can be a valuable asset for the Twins. He now has nine home runs, fourth most on Minnesota's roster behind Josh Willingham (23), Trevor Plouffe (19) and Justin Morneau (11). Doumit's 45 RBI are tied with Joe Mauer for second-most on the Twins behind Willingham's 68 RBI.
Doumit's multi-homer day Sunday was not only historic, but it was also a reminder of how productive and consistent he has been for Minnesota in 2012.
"We're really happy that we got a chance to get this guy. It's paying dividents for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Doumit. "He's a force in the middle of our lineup. He can do a lot of things — outfield, catch, DH, first base a little. He can swing the bat, and today was a big day for him and for us."