Home runs were the story in Minnesota’s sweep of the San Diego Padres, a two-game series that saw the Twins outscore their opponent 19-1. Minnesota set a Major League Baseball record by going yard in each of the first seven innings during Tuesday’s 16-0 onslaught and walked off winners on Wednesday after Eddie Rosario parked one in right field, 402 feet away from home plate.
Home runs may have been the big story for a series. But for second baseman Brian Dozier, dingers have defined his career.
Dozier started out Tuesday’s game with a four-bagger in the first inning, good for his eighth leadoff homer of the year and No. 30 overall — coming one season after launching 42 in 2016.
He’s now only the fifth second baseman in MLB history with back-to-back seasons of hitting 30 homers or more. The only second baseman to do so more often is Dan Uggla, who hit between 31 and 36 from 2007-11 with the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves.
MLB, 2B, Most Consecutive Seasons with 30+ HR – All-Time
Dan Uggla, Fla-Atl
Brian Dozier, Min
Chase Utley, Phi
Alfonso Soriano, NYY
Ryne Sandberg, ChC
The 30-year-old slugger dramatically turned his season around in 2016 with an amazing second half. This year has been the same story. Through his first 81 games this season, Dozier had just 13 homers. But he’s sent 17 balls into orbit after the All-Star break in just 56 games, and boasts a .373 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter.
Brian Dozier, after the All-Star break:
As a team, the Twins rank just 16th in MLB with 185 home runs, but the long ball is impacting their push for the playoffs in a big way.
The Twins have seen a dramatic increase in their power numbers since the All-Star break. They have averaged 1.49 home runs per game since July 14, compared to a 1.14 per-game clip before the break — tied for the largest increase of homers per game (+0.35) in the majors with the Cleveland Indians, who are in the midst of a 21-game winning streak.
Minnesota will put its power surge to the test this weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays, who have sunk to 68-78 and are all but eliminated from the wild-card race.
— Jose Berrios has won his last seven starts at Target Field. It’s the first time a Twins starter has won seven consecutive home starts since Kevin Slowey in 2009.
— Berrios has thrown 130 1/3 innings this year, enough to make him the first Twins pitcher 23 years old or younger to appear in over 130 frames.
— The Blue Jays are 33-18 while playing as the visiting team in Minnesota since 2003.
— If the game is close, advantage goes to the Twins: Toronto has lost 24 one-run games this year.