Kirilloff hits 2 of Twins’ season-high 5 homers in 11-1 win over Cubs
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Alex Kirilloff hit two of Minnesota’s season-high five home runs to lead the Twins to an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Joey Gallo, Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa also homered for the Twins, who provided plenty of run support for Joe Ryan (6-1). Ryan struck out 10 in six scoreless innings, including striking out the side in the sixth.
“It just kept coming and we kept hitting, so it was awesome to have that,” Ryan said of the run support. “It’s good to see us putting up some good runs there. It was awesome.”
Kirilloff, appearing in just his seventh game this season, opened the scoring with an opposite-field solo shot to left in the first. His second homer came three pitches after Gallo’s towering drive to the second deck in right-center in the third.
It was Kirilloff’s third career multi-homer game and his first since July 5. The 2016 first-round pick made his season debut on May 6 and had yet to collect an extra-base hit in his first six games.
Kirilloff was limited to 45 games last season due to a left wrist injury, but he’s showing he’s fully healthy.
“He has real ability to affect the game offensively,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Kirilloff. “He’s shown us that as a young player. He’s shown us that in the big leagues. Now he’s here in a real nice spot, feeling great, swinging the bat great.”
Gallo’s home run was his eighth of the year, tying Byron Buxton for the team high. His deep blast in the third inning drew a noticeable reaction from Cubs starter Hayden Wesneski (2-2).
“I threw it and I go, ‘No.’ I knew better,” Wesneski said. “I knew what was about to happen, pretty much.”
Polanco capped a 10-pitch at-bat against Wesneski with a two-run homer to right that drove in Kirilloff for a 7-0 lead. Correa joined the home run party with a solo blast into the bullpens in left-center in the seventh.
“It felt like that contagious nature of offense that we do see in this game,” Baldelli said. “This was one of those days for us. There was a lot of good.”
Wesneski surrendered four of the Twins’ home runs. Coming in, he had given up six homers in seven starts. He allowed a career-high seven earned runs.
“A lot of balls over the heart of the plate, a lot of hard contact, really good swings,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Wesneski. “We haven’t had many clunkers like that early on where we’re out of the game. So, we’ll be back at it tomorrow.”
Ross and Cubs designated hitter Eric Hosmer were both ejected in the eighth after Hosmer argued with plate umpire Edwin Jimenez about a called third strike that ended the inning with the bases loaded. It was the sixth career ejection for Hosmer, and the 11th for Ross during his managerial career.
Chicago’s lone run came in the top of the seventh off reliever Jovani Moran.
Rain delayed the start by 1 hour, 21 minutes.
Minnesota recalled right-hander Cole Sands from Triple-A Rochester to give the Twins bullpen depth. To make room, right-hander Dereck Rodríguez was optioned to Rochester. Sands entered in the eighth inning Saturday and walked the bases loaded before escaping the jam.
Twins: Placed outfielder Max Kepler on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain and recalled outfielder Trevor Larnach from Triple-A St. Paul to take Kepler’s roster spot. Kepler exited Thursday’s game with what was called a cramp, and he pinch hit Friday against the Cubs.
RHP Marcus Stroman (2-3, 2.28 ERA) gets the start Sunday for the Cubs, looking for his first win since April 7. He’ll be opposed by Twins RHP Louie Varland (0-0, 4.32), who did not record a decision in his first three starts.
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