Twins pound out 18 hits to rout Rockies
By Jack Etkin
The Sports Xchange
DENVER -- Minnesota starter Phil Hughes survived his Coors Field debut Sunday, and the Twins, who saw most of their early lead vanish, piled on the Colorado Rockies late to rout them 13-5.
The Twins pounded out a season-high 18 hits, including seven for extra bases, in the rubber game of the series. Second baseman Brian Dozier hit two homers, giving him 18 for the season and his first career multi-homer game. The Twins scored seven runs in the final three innings, including four in the ninth.
Colorado's Brett Anderson made his first start since April 12, when he broke his left index finger, and showed his rust. He gave up 10 hits, including four doubles and a triple, and six runs, five of them coming in the first. Hughes (10-5) quickly gave back four of the runs, two each in the first and second, but fought his way through five innings.
"You really feel for the guys that have to pitch here all the time," Hughes said. "It wasn't an easy thing to do. The offense gave me a bunch of run support, especially early, and I was able to hold on. I definitely didn't have my best stuff or command or anything really going today. But fortunately (I) was able to at least maintain a one-run lead and then guys added on late."
The teams traded runs in the fifth, keeping the Twins' lead at 6-5, and they scored two runs in the seventh, the first one on center fielder Sam Fuld's sacrifice fly against Rex Brothers, who had loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk.
Adam Ottavino relieved Brothers, and his first pitch glanced off the glove of catcher Wilin Rosario, allowing a run to score. It was Rosario's 10th passed ball of the season, one more than his 2013 total.
Dozier led off the eighth against Ottavino with his 17th homer to make it 9-5. And Dozier homered again in the ninth when the Twins scored four runs against Brooks Brown. On Monday, Dozier will participate in the Home Run Derby at Target Field with his brother, Clay, pitching to him.
"That's a little momentum I guess going into it. All the Twins fans will probably be more excited about Mornie coming back," Dozier said, referring to Rockies first baseman and former Twin Justin Morneau. "I just want to have fun."
After giving up a double and single to start the game, Anderson was the beneficiary of a 5-4-2 double play that ended with Dozier, running from third, thrown out on the plate. But Anderson (0-3) then gave up five straight hits to third baseman Trevor Plouffe (double), right fielder Chris Parmelee (two-run single), left fielder Josh Willingham (single), shortstop Eduardo Escobar (two-run double) and Fuld (run-scoring single) in the 29-pitch inning.
"I felt alright," Anderson said. "My stuff wasn't very good. I was one pitch away from getting out of it unscathed and I just couldn't execute a pitch before seven hits, which should never happen. But after the first inning, I battled and tried to give us a chance to win or at least stay in the game."
Hughes gave up two two-out runs in the first -- the 14th straight start he has allowed a run in the first -- on Morneau's single followed by third baseman Nolan Arenado's double. After Rosario's single and second baseman DJ LeMahieu's double to start the second, the Rockies scored on Anderson's sacrifice and center fielder Charlie Blackmon's sacrifice fly.
"I like to work pretty fast," Hughes said. "It just seemed it was kind of taking its toll on me more here, which everybody talks about. But having never pitched here before. I didn't know exactly how I was going to react to that. It's certainly different, but I was able to battle as best I could. I take a lot of pride in protecting a lead, especially when the guys give me so many runs early."
At 44-50, the Twins have their beat record at the All-Star break since 2010 (46-42). Shortstop Danny Santana (left knee deep bone bruise) is expected to be back Friday, and the Twins are hopeful first baseman Joe Mauer (strained right oblique) and pitcher Ricky Nolasco (right elbow soreness) will be able to help them soon.
The Twins went 5-2 on their road trip headed into the break and come out of it with a 10-game homestaind.
"Coming into this whole road trip, I wouldn't say (it was) make or break, but it's a huge test of what we're going to do after the break -- buy or sell, all that kind of stuff," Dozier said. "This week was a big week for us and coming back from the All-Star break with 10 games at home, everything plays in our favor. We just got to go out and win."
TWIN TIPS: Rockies LHP Brett Anderson was activated from the 60-day disabled list to start Sunday. 1B-OF Kyle Parker was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... To make room on the 40-man roster for Anderson, RHP Jordan Lyles (broken left hand) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. A follow-up X-ray showed he needed more time to heal. He was scheduled to rejoin the rotation July 28 but will be eligible to return Aug. 4. ... Twins RF Oswaldo Arcia was scratched from the lineup due to flu-like symptoms and replaced by Chris Parmelee. ... Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa, Anderson and LHP Tyler Matzek will start the first three games after the All-Star break at Pittsburgh. ... Twins RHP Kyle Gibson, RHP Kevin Correia and RHP Phil Hughes will start the first three games after the All-Star break against Tampa Bay. ... Twins SS Danny Santana (left knee deep bone bruise) will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Fort Myers and, barring a setback, will play there Wednesday and Thursday before being activated by the Twins on Friday. Santana, who has also played center field for the Twins this year, is scheduled to play five innings in center field Monday. After Fort Myers' off day, he will play seven innings at shortstop Wednesday and nine innings in center field Thursday.