Homers, happy: Twins welcome fans back with 10-2 win vs. M’s

Dave Campbell Ap Sports Writer
Friday, April 9, 2021
Article Image Alt Text

Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton celebrates the team’s 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Minneapolis. AP PHOTO

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins welcomed their fans back to the ballpark by hitting like they wanted to give them all souvenirs.

Though Target Field was at coronavirus-limited capacity, the Twins played like the place was full.

Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez hit home runs to back another strong start by José Berríos, and the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners 10-2 on Thursday.

Berríos (2-0), who no-hit Milwaukee over six innings in his first turn, threw two more hitless innings before surrendering his first run of the season in the third. Pulled with two outs in the sixth, Berríos tipped his cap to the sellout crowd of 9,675 as he strutted off the mound.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment a really long time. Everybody knows here the fans are great people. They like baseball and are always cheering for us no matter what happens,” Berríos said.

Said Arraez: “They’re everything for us.”

Garver had the three-run shot that got the Twins going in their home opener, a straightaway screamer to center field that landed in the living wall of junipers for a 3-1 lead in the third inning against Mariners starter Marco Gonzales (0-1).

The Twins, whose only two losses have been 10thinning walk-offs, wound up with a season-high 16 hits. Buxton went 3 for 5, Arraez drove in three runs, and Andrelton Simmons had two of the team’s six doubles.

Gonzales didn’t finish the fifth. He allowed nine hits and was charged with seven runs to balloon his ERA to 10.45.

Ty France had two hits and José Marmolejos homered off Berríos, but the Mariners couldn’t keep up with the two-time AL Central champions.

“Frustrating, to say the least,” Gonzales said.

With seating socially distanced and limited by the state to about 25% capacity, the Twins played their warmest home opener — 67 degrees — for a season that started on time since Target Field opened in 2010. Last year, their first home game was on July 28, a 60-game schedule played with the gates closed due to the pandemic.

The afternoon just about had it all for the folks who snagged tickets, including a 16-minute rain delay. Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire tossed out the ceremonial first pitch to his son Toby Gardenhire, now the manager of the Triple-A affiliate St. Paul Saints. An “MVP” chant was fired up for Buxton, who batted in the cleanup spot and has three doubles and four homers in six games.

Berríos picked off two runners, the first Twins pitcher to do so since Kyle Gibson in 2016. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz beat out a slow roller for an infield single, taking first base in the sixth inning with a big grin.

“It felt like there were a lot of people in the stands, I’ll be honest with you, and for us to go out there and play a nice ballgame for them makes it all the better,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.



What is your favorite Halloween activity?