Homer-happy Twins set major-league record

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins aren’t often thought of as a home run hitting team. But on Tuesday, they set a major league home run record.

Outfielder Josh Willingham’s solo home run to the second deck in left field Tuesday extended Minnesota’s streak of 23 consecutive runs scored solely via home runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is now the longest such streak in baseball history — and one that dates back to Friday for the Twins.

Ever since Chris Colabello hit a solo shot in the second inning of the first game of a doubleheader Friday against the White Sox, the Twins had not scored any other way than via a home run entering Tuesday. Minnesota belted four homers in that first game Friday, including a go-ahead grand slam by Justin Morneau, who later homered again in the ninth inning. Oswaldo Arcia also homered in that game as the Twins scored all seven runs on four homers.

The Twins won the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader by a 3-2 final thanks to three solo homers by Chris Herrmann, Willingham and Arcia. Saturday’s 5-4 loss in that series yielded two more home runs — including a three-run homer by Morneau — and Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer both homered to drive in all five runs in the Twins’ 5-2 win Sunday.

Minnesota’s home run streak continued Monday against Cleveland, as Dozier led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot. One inning later, Trevor Plouffe blasted a two-run home run to left. Plouffe’s 11th home run of the season helped the Twins tie the mark for most consecutive runs scored via a home run at 22, which last happened back in 2002 when the Giants did so.

Willingham’s 12th home run of the year, a 411-foot shot to the second deck in left field, temporarily gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead and also put the Twins in the record books. Tuesday’s record-setting home run wasn’t enough for Minnesota, however, as the Twins fell 5-2 to the Indians. The streak came to an end in the sixth inning when Joe Mauer scored from first base on a Justin Morneau single to center that Cleveland’s Michael Bourn mishandled.

As it turned out, Minnesota could have used a few more home runs Tuesday night against Zach McAllister and the Indians.

“You can’t rely on home runs all the time,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “It’s nice when we hit them, but we have to drive in some of these runs with less than two outs when a man’s on third. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t do it again tonight.”

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