A fine summer's afternoon turned both sun-splashed and triumphant Saturday as the shadows grew across Target Field, where the Twins scored twice in the sixth inning, thrice in the seventh and four more just for punctuation in the eighth inning of a 9-4 victory over Detroit.
In Friday night's 4-2 victory, the Twins scored all their runs in a decisive sixth inning.
On Saturday, right fielder Alex Kirilloff's two-run homer in that sixth jolted alive a Twins team that trailed 4-0 after three innings.
The next inning, second baseman Jorge Polanco's 375-foot shot into the right-field pavilion scored three runs and gave the Twins a lead they never lost. That is, not after reliever Alexander Colome struck out two batters to end the top of the eighth with the tying run on third and his team clinging to a 5-4 lead.
The Twins turned two Tigers fielding errors and a wild pitch into a four-run eighth and went on to earn their third consecutive victory in a four-game series that concludes Sunday before the All-Star break arrives.
They say beauty is the beholder's eye, and Twins manager Rocco Baldelli found his Saturday with his team that won for the second time after it trailed by four runs this season.
The other victory also came at home, May 18 against the Chicago White Sox.
"It's a beautiful thing when you stay at it, have the at-bats you're looking for and you put some runs across the board," Baldelli said. "You get some baserunners, you look for a big swing. There are different ways to do it. Today we went deep and brought some runs in and made it happen."
On Monday, righthander Bailey Ober he pitched five scoreless innings and earned his first major league victory in an 8-5 decision over the White Sox.
On Saturday, the rookie struck out three batters in the first inning, but he surrendered back-to-back solo home runs to Eric Haase and Jeimer Candelario in the second inning, then walked consecutive batters in the fourth, both of whom scored. Ober was relieved by Derek Law with one out in the fourth.
"Just a lack of execution mainly with my pitches," Ober said. "I probably was trying to be too fine. Ended up just throwing a couple of waste pitches that weren't near the zone and I ended up going into deep counts. So that's where this whole day kind of went."
Law pitched 2⅓ innings before Kirilloff stepped forth and hit a homer into the left-center seats immediately after Nelson Cruz, who went 3-for-3, singled. It was Kirilloff's eighth home run this season.
"He's certainly not afraid," Baldelli said of Kirilloff. "He continues to go out there in his own manner. He's got that very relaxed way about him. Moments — really any kind of moment — doesn't get to him in any way. And he keeps going out there and producing. He has had some big swings this year and a very nice day today. We'll take it."
Still trailing by two in the seventh, Andrelton Simmons and Luis Arraez each singled off Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez before Polanco pulled his go-ahead shot down the right-field line, his 11th home run this season.
"Just trying to get a pitch to hit and trying to hit it hard — and it happens," Polanco said. "Just keep battling. Never give up. We're always trying to make situations happen. It was a good game."
Arraez's bases-loaded single to left in the eighth drove in two runs and gave the Twins some breathing room.
"When you have a good approach, are willing to stick with it, know who you are and find a good pitch to hit hard somewhere, that's really the goal here," Baldelli said. "And Luis is making a living out of that right now."