The Minnesota Twins hit eight home runs a combined 3,347 feet in a 16-7 clubbing of the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.
It’s an eye-popping stat on its face, and one that gets better upon closer inspection.
They’re just the second team ever to have two games with eight home runs in the same season, joining the 2005 Texas Rangers.
The Twins also hit eight home runs in the second game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on April 20.
Minnesota is up to a major-league leading 98 home runs heading into game No. 50 against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
No team in major-league history has hit more home runs through 49 games, while the 1999 Seattle Mariners and 2000 St. Louis Cardinals are the only other teams to hit 98 homers this quickly.
The Houston Astros set a record back in 2000, hitting six-plus home runs in five games throughout the entire season. The Twins already have four.
Thursday’s game was a typical Twins slugfest: They jumped on starting pitcher Matt Harvey early, hitting four home runs before the end of the third inning.
Minnesota has scored a combined 115 runs and allowed just 50 in the first three innings this season. At plus-65, it’s far and away the largest such run differential in the majors this season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are all tied for second at plus-37, followed by the Chicago Cubs at plus-25.
Meanwhile, the White Sox have a minus-36 differential through the first three innings this season, good for 29th.
The new guys have been key.
First baseman C.J. Cron, claimed off waivers from the Rays, and Jonathan Schoop, signed away from the Milwaukee Brewers, have been among the most productive additions in baseball.
Cron is up to 13 home runs, tied with the Mariners’ Edwin Encarnacion for the most by a player in his first year with a new team this season, while Scoop is tied for fifth with 10.
Home runs aren’t the only thing the Twins have going for them, however.
The Twins’ rotation features three pitchers with at least six wins this season — Martin Perez, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi — heading into Berrios’ 11th start Friday.
Berrios has been particularly effective against the White Sox throughout his four-year major-league career.
The 24-year-old has seven wins against the White Sox, his most against a single team, along with five quality starts.
His .183 opponent batting average against Chicago is his lowest against a single team, while his 2.12 ERA and .530 opponent OPS rank second and his 0.61 home runs per nine innings ranks third.
— The Twins went 12-7 against the White Sox last season, a series that featured plenty of early offense and lots of strikeouts. Minnesota outscored Chicago 45-24 in innings 1-3 last season, while Twins pitchers averaged a combined 10.54 strikeouts per nine innings. White Sox pitchers had a 7.39 K/9.
— White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez has improved since posting a 6.69 ERA in his first seven starts. He has a 2.29 ERA with a .211 opponent batting average in his last three starts.
— White Sox catcher James McCann, who spent five seasons with the Detroit Tigers, is hitting .375 in his career at Target Field, the best batting average of any active player in the American League (minimum 50 plate appearances).
Statistics via Sportradar
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