Twins

Bombs Away! Five-Hit Night for Forsythe Paces Twins in Wild Win over Tigers

Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In just over two weeks with the Minnesota Twins — 14 games, to be exact — Logan Forsythe has 23 hits. That’s more than half his total in 70 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, and in the process, he’s raised his batting average from .207 to .256.

Sure, he’s only had 265 plate appearances, but raising a batting average nearly 50 points at this time of the year is nearly unheard of.

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Forsythe’s five-hit night in a wild 15-8 win over the Detroit Tigers at Target Field gave him as many hits in 14 games with the Twins as backup catcher Bobby Wilson has all season (23).

Forsythe reached all five times he came to the plate before being lifted for pinch-runner Jake Cave:

  • A first-inning single to right
  • A two-run automatic double in the second
  • Another double in the fourth
  • A single to center in the sixth
  • A single to right in the seventh

This gave Forsythe a stretch of six straight at-bats with a hit, and it was the first five-hit game of his career, which has spanned four teams, both leagues, nearly 3,000 plate appearances and eight MLB seasons.

Aug 16, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Logan Forsythe (24) celebrates with Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver (23) after scoring during the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Where does this rank among the 821 big-league games Forsythe has played?

“It’s up there,” Forsythe said. “This is the first I’ve gotten five hits. It was fun. And then Moli taking me out after the fifth hit with a little applause, it was a cool moment. But yeah man, it’s up there.

“I don’t think it’s really set in, I think it will later tonight. But it was a good day.”

Forsythe has recorded multiple hits in six of his first 14 games with the Twins, and has reached base at a .500 clip through his first 54 plate appearances.

The Twins dug an early hole, as Ervin Santana’s struggles continued since he returned from finger surgery. The 35-year-old righty allowed three home runs and seven earned runs in just four innings pitched, pushing his season ERA in the vicinity of toll-free numbers (8.03), interstate highways and nearly into FM radio territory.

Santana again struggled to keep his velocity readings into the 90s, and despite the Twins taking an early 8-2 lead after just four outs were recorded by old friend and Tigers starter Francisco Liriano, it appeared for a moment like the Twins might have to hold on for dear life.

The Tigers wound up getting that all-important eighth run — just long after it was truly pivotal. Detroit closed the gap to 8-7 with crooked numbers in the fourth and fifth innings, but Trevor May managed to work out of trouble to record his first win in the big leagues in more than two years.

“You feel good when you get up by a half dozen early,” said manager Paul Molitor. “Before you know it, you blink and it’s a one-run game. You’ve just got to keep playing. Sometimes the same energy you have when you get behind to stay with it, you gotta keep that when you are ahead too because you never know when a game is going to turn.

While we aren’t exactly wild about pitcher wins, anytime a guy does something he hasn’t done on a mound in more than 700 days, that’s pretty noteworthy.

May didn’t seem too tied up in it, either.

“It’s good to get the win for the team,” he said. “To come out on top with more runs than them is definitely better than the alternative. I’m a little bit caught up with having a job to do in the fifth inning to pick Erv up. I could have done a much better job with that.

“Getting a win added next to my name, especially as a reliever, is I think less important than just wins in general. It is nice to kind of play a meaningful role in maintaining a lead and allowing us to storm back there in the bottom of the sixth.”

But while Santana dug an early 2-0 hole by giving up a home run to Nicholas Castellanos — eyebrow-raising bat flip and all — the Twins took the lead for good in the first inning on Jorge Polanco’s three-run homer to left which hooked just inside the foul pole into the lower-level seats.

Aug 16, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It was Polanco’s second home run of the season, and first from the right side. It was also a positive development for Polanco’s swing from that side of the plate; he entered play Thursday hitting just .160/.160/.200 with a 12-0 K/BB ratio in 50 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter.

The run barrage continued into the second inning, as an error proved costly for the Tigers. Johnny Field hit a grounder to short, and was initially called out on a close play. Replay later revealed that shortstop Ronny Rodriguez’s throw pulled first baseman Jim Adduci off the bag, and instead of two outs and the bases empty, the Twins were in business with one on and one out.

Ehire Adrianza and Joe Mauer followed with walks, then Forsythe hit a double — his second hit in as many innings — that snuck inside the right-field line, then over the side wall for an automatic double. Three pitches later, Polanco dropped a sac fly into left, with Forsythe taking third on a poor throw from Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Bad throw or not, Forsythe managed to make it home without much added effort, as Miguel Sano pummeled his 10th home run into the Minneapolis night — and his second in a row to right field.

After the Tigers made things interesting with five runs in the middle innings, the Twins went back to work against former Indians reliever Zach McAllister. The veteran righty recorded just one out before giving way to Alex Wilson, and in the process, the Twins went single, fly to center, homer, single, single and finally another single to chase McAllister after just 21 pitches.

The homer came off the bat of Adrianza, but even after Wilson entered, the Twins added a walk, two singles, a sac fly and Max Kepler reaching first on an error by third baseman Jeimer Candelario before mercifully making the final out on an Adrianza grounder to second.

The final damage for the inning was seven runs, and the final damage for the night was the Twins getting back to within six games of .500 (57-63).

For the third night in a row, the Twins bullpen was sturdy. May, Addison Reed and Oliver Drake combined for five innings of one-run relief with three hits allowed — all by Reed — four strikeouts and three walks.

The only earned run allowed by a Twins pitcher after Santana departed was a solo home run off Reed from former Twins infielder Niko Goodrum.

Notes

  • Eddie Rosario pinch-hit for Johnny Field in the sixth inning, and wound up taking more plate appearances on the night (three) than the player he replaced (two). Rosario batted twice in the sixth inning alone — a seven-run frame for the Twins.
  • The Twins announced Adalberto Mejia was diagnosed with nerve irritation in his left arm, and there’s no timetable for his rehab process to begin.
  • The Twins improved to 5-5 against the Tigers this year with the win, and 26-24 against AL Central opponents overall.
  • The Twins are 36-23 at Target Field this season, including 16-8 in Minneapolis against divisional foes.
  • The Tigers fell to 18-42 on the road this season — the second-most road losses in MLB.

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