MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Miguel Sano ended a tough stretch at the plate with some might.
Sano hit two of the Twins’ season high-tying six home runs, including an inside-the-park dash by Byron Buxton, and Minnesota powered past the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-3 on Friday night.
Eduardo Escobar, Max Kepler and Brian Dozier also went deep for Minnesota. Buxton finished a single shy of the cycle.
Sano finished with three hits after going 4 for 25 in his last six games. He had no hits in his previous nine official at-bats, but walked three times.
“I know he’s been working hard, just trying to stay on the ball and recognize pitches better. He’s getting walks. I know he’s getting close. Tonight, we saw the explosion,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Leading 4-3 in the seventh, Sano hit the first pitch from reliever David Hernandez 452 feet into the second deck in left-center for two runs. Escobar added a two-run shot two batters later for an 8-3 lead.
Sano hit one even further, 474 feet into the third deck, in the eighth for his first multi-homer game this season and third of his career.
Minnesota also hit six home runs May 2 against Oakland. The five homers that left the playing field went a combined 2,169 feet.
“Anytime I made a mistake with any pitch they took advantage of it,” said Arizona starter Zack Godley (5-6), who tied a career high by striking out 10, but allowed four earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.
David Peralta had three hits for Arizona, including a home run, but six home runs was the most allowed by Arizona since Sept. 9, 2013, at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“You make some mistakes to good hitters at this level you’re going to pay for it,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
No home run was more exciting than the one that didn’t clear a fence.
Down 3-2 in the fourth, Buxton hit a ball high off the wall in right-center that rolled toward center field. As A.J. Pollock gave chase, Buxton circled the bases in 13.85 seconds, the fastest ever tracked by MLB Statcast, narrowly beating the throw by sliding headfirst across home plate.
“About two steps around first base once I saw the ball had kicked away from him. It was kind of just put my head down and run,” Buxton said.
Buxton scored after doubling in the sixth, the first of 25 inherited runners to score this year against Diamondbacks reliever Jorge De La Rosa.
Seeking to become the first Twin since Michael Cuddyer on May 22, 2009, to accomplish the cycle, Buxton, who tripled in the second, lined out to Daniel Descalso in the seventh.
Twins starter Ervin Santana (13-7) allowed three earned runs and seven hits in six innings. All the runs came in the first two innings before Santana retired 10 straight.
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Arizona bench coach Ron Gardenhire returned to Target Field for the first time as an opponent and received a standing ovation after a video tribute.
The winningest manager in Twins history (1,068-1,039), Gardenhire led Minnesota to six postseason appearances in his 13 years in charge. He was let go after the 2014 season. The AL Manager of the Year in 2010 also spent 11 years as a Twins coach.
“He did a lot of good things in this town. He deserves all that attention,” Lovullo said.
A noticeably slimmer Gardenhire had surgery in April for prostate cancer.
“I had a blood test today and it came back good, so it’s just kind of an ongoing thing now, once a year I’ll probably get checked out,” he said. “Doctor said everything is looking great. I feel good.”
Diamondbacks: RF J.D. Martinez (illness) was scratched. … LHP Robbie Ray, out with a concussion since getting hit in the head by a line drive July 28, struck out 11 in 4 2/3 innings with Class A Visalia Thursday. He could return to the Diamondbacks rotation next week.
Twins: An MRI on LHP Dietrich Enns revealed left shoulder inflammation. An injection was given in hopes of loosening the area. Enns went on the disabled list Wednesday.
Zack Greinke (14-5, 3.01) will start for Arizona on Saturday night against Minnesota’s Jose Berrios (10-5, 4.27). Greinke has allowed 18 earned runs in his past nine starts, going 6-1. Berrios allowed five runs in the first inning in both of his past two starts.
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