MINNEAPOLIS -- — Jorge Polanco hit two of Minnesota’s five home runs, Michael Pineda pitched five strong innings in his return to the rotation and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 9-2 on Saturday night.
Polanco had three hits in his third multi-homer game of the season. His 29 home runs match Chili Davis in 1991 for the most in a season by a switch-hitter for the Twins.
“I think the power stroke, it’s not something that’s really that much of a conscious effort from him,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s not going up there taking swings that are unlike swings we’ve seen him take before. I think it’s very much him dialing in, seeing the ball very well, not missing his pitches when he gets them.”
Pineda (6-8) allowed one run on five hits. He was making his first start since returning from the injured list on Sept. 6 with a left oblique strain. He made his first career relief appearance on Sept. 6 before slotting back into the rotation.
“I can tell when I was in my bullpen before my start, I had really good feeling for my slider,” Pineda said. “I use it. I tried to locate my fastball and go back to my slider and use it because we had really good movement today and I used it.”
Brady Singer (4-10) surrendered six runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings while striking out seven for Kansas City. Singer allowed all five homers. He had never allowed more than two in a game and had given up just nine long balls in 116 innings this season coming into the game.
All five home runs by the Twins were on two-strike counts.
“When I got to two strikes, I didn’t really bury anything,” Singer said. “It was kind of spinning out of my hand there, felt like the slider wasn’t very good all night.”
Buxton started the onslaught with another long home run in the first inning. He homered into the second deck above the bullpens in left-center field. A night earlier, Buxton’s first-inning home run was estimated at 457 feet after hitting the second deck above the batter’s eye in center field.
Polanco followed with his first homer, a liner to right field.
Buxton and Polanco teamed up again in the fifth. After Buxton singled on a soft fly ball to shallow center, Polanco launched a towering shot to the second deck in right field. Polanco has 14 homers in 36 games since the start of August.
“It’s a fun way to win and it’s kind of an explosive way to win,” Baldelli said of the home runs. “The dugout really gets going and enjoys it, too, when you do it like this.”
Andrew Benintendi continued his strong run for Kansas City, driving in the Royals’ lone run in the fourth with an RBI single. Benintendi had two hits and has driven in 13 runs during the team’s six-game road trip.
“We did have those big opportunities, a couple chances just to kind of chip away,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “Those points in the game where you think, ‘We can really swing it here.’ Just didn’t have a lot of baserunners tonight, just a tough night.”
Twins: C Mitch Garver (10-day injured list) has hit in the cages and thrown as he recovers from low back tightness. He’s started to ramp up his baseball activities.
Rookie RHP Bailey Ober (2-2, 4.00 ERA) starts Sunday for Minnesota. Kansas City counters with LHP Kris Bubic (4-6, 5.07). Ober has allowed two earned runs or less in his last five starts with a 2.05 ERA during that span. Bubic is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three games, including two starts, against the Twins this season.
Astros' Valdez goes 8, beats Red Sox 9-1 for 3-2 ALCS lead
— Framber Valdez lost his perfect game and then bounced the following pitch off the next batter's leg.
Schwarber's error sparks big 6th from Astros
Michael Brantley reaches first base on an error by Kyle Schwarber, which set the table for Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel to each hit an RBI double. Jose Siri then hits an RBI single to give Houston a 6-0 lead.
2021 MLB playoffs: Schedules, postseason bracket, analysis and updates
All the latest information about the teams, storylines and highlights of the 2021 MLB postseason, from the start of October through the World Series.
MLB playoffs 2021: Best plays and moments from Houston Astros-Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves-Los Angeles Dodgers
Wednesday has another doublerheader of league championship series action, with the each team looking to establish control in their respective series.
Braves scratch Huascar Ynoa (shoulder) from Game 4 start; Jesse Chavez to open instead
Braves right-hander Huascar Ynoa was scratched from his scheduled start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night because of shoulder tightness. The team will replace Ynoa with Jesse Chavez as an opener.
Carlos Correa is bringing an impressive highlight reel to free agency
Relive some highlights that show why Carlos Correa is one of Major League Baseball's top players.