Escobar hits pair of home runs in Twins’ 7-4 win over Indians
MINNEAPOLIS — Losing six of seven games had the Minnesota Twins searching for answers, with manager Paul Molitor addressing his team and second baseman Brian Dozier calling a meeting.
The two wanted to discuss the miscues that had plagued playoff-hopeful Minnesota this season. Eduardo Escobar and Jose Berrios then helped lift the Twins over the Cleveland Indians.
Escobar hit two homers and drove in four runs, Berrios pitched six effective innings and Minnesota pulled away for a 7-4 win Friday night.
“Everybody stay strong, that’s the most important,” Escobar said. “Play hard no matter what happens, it’s the most important. Everybody working hard, so you see today everybody run hard, play hard.”
Dozier opened the bottom of the first inning with a double off the right-field wall in a two-hit night. Escobar’s three-run homer in the first started the scoring against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (6-4).
Escobar added a solo shot, his 10th of the season, in the seventh as the Twins snapped a three-game losing streak. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound infielder has four multi-homer games in his career and two this season.
“I’m not a big guy,” Escobar said. “I don’t go to home plate and think about a home run. I concentrate, look at the ball, swing hard.”
Edwin Encarnacion homered for Cleveland, which had its season-high six game-winning streak snapped.
Berrios (6-5) allowed four runs and five hits with seven strikeouts. Fernando Rodney secured his 12th save in 15 chances, which includes nine straight conversions.
“We’re still trying to tighten up and watching some of the things that are maybe not as apparent to people just following the ball, things we need to do,” Molitor said. “The guys were made aware of it and trying to take it to heart and apply it, and as long as it doesn’t make them more nervous trying not to make a mistake.”
Carrasco had his second-shortest outing of the season with 3 2/3 innings. Miguel Sano’s RBI double chased Carrasco after the right-hander tied a season high with six runs on seven hits and three walks.
“He wasn’t real crisp, kind of like the game in Milwaukee where he pitched himself into it,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought they also went down and got a couple good pitches. Escobar went down to get a breaking ball a couple times. Really was a difference-maker for them, and it wasn’t a bad pitch.”
Cleveland decided to walk Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario intentionally twice to face Sano, who was hitting .226 with two home runs in 31 at-bats since being activated from the disabled list a week ago. Rosario entered the night hitting .308 with nine homers and a team-high 33 RBIs.
Carrasco reached a 2-0 count against Rosario in the fourth with a runner on third. Sano promptly lined a double to left to score one run after he struck out his first two times against Carrasco.
“I thought, `I’ve got to get another strikeout,’ but I threw the slider kind of inside-middle,” Carrasco said. “He just got that pitch right there and hit a double and got another run right there. It is what it is. I should have thrown a better pitch inside of going inside-middle.”
With another runner at third with two outs in the sixth, reliever Neil Ramirez gave Rosario the free pass before Sano flied out to right field.
Carrasco was hit in the glove by a comebacker off the bat of Robbie Grossman in the fourth. Carrasco dropped to the ground quickly following Grossman’s liner, but appeared to get his glove up in time to knock the ball down.
Logan Morrison had his bat snap on a foul ball in the fifth and the bat shard sailed directly behind him where Escobar just managed to dive out of the way.
The Indians activated outfielder Bradley Zimmer from the disabled list before the game and optioned Thursday’s starter, pitcher Shane Bieber, to Triple-A Columbus.
Zimmer, who wasn’t in the lineup Friday, was on the DL since May 12 with a rib contusion. He’s hit .224 this season with two home runs and nine RBIs in 32 games.
Indians: OF Tyler Naquin (left hamstring strain) had a full workout at Double-A Akron on Friday and Francona said he’ll likely be ready to play this weekend.
Twins: Molitor said the team is going to “be a little bit smarter today” about 1B Joe Mauer’s workouts as he tries to recover from concussion symptoms. Mauer had trouble when working out before Thursday’s game, but Molitor said he was able to stay at the park and for the entirety of the game. Mauer was also in the dugout on Friday.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (4-3, 2.61) is scheduled to start Saturday’s matinee. Bauer will be making the start on extended five days rest after throwing a career-high 127 pitches on May 27 against Houston.
Twins: RHP Lance Lynn (3-4, 5.94) counters for Minnesota. Lynn has won his last two starts while allowing two runs in 12 2/3 innings.