By Megan Ryan [email protected]
Chants of “MVP! MVP!” reverberated through Target Field on Thursday.
Sure, the seventh game of a 162-game season might be a little soon to crown Byron Buxton the best player in the American League. But with a large group of fans rooting for the Twins in person at Target Field for the first time in the COVID-19 pandemic, a little hyperbole is understandable.
Buxton, the Twins center fielder, hit cleanup for the first time in his career and belted his fourth home run of the young season in a 10-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners before 9,675 in the home opener. He also doubled and singled, raising his average to .421.
“Buck has always been a good, confident player. He always gives you a tremendous effort out there,” manager Rocco Baldelli said before the game. ” … He’s a modest guy. He’s a humble guy. He’s not a guy that’s going to tell you things as much as he’s going to show you things with the way that he plays the game.”
Mitch Garver and Luis Arraez also homered, and Jose Berrios pitched into the sixth for his second win in a game interuppted briefly by a rain delay.
Berrios (2-0) went 5⅔ innings, striking out eight and giving up two runs and five hits. He opened the season with six no-hit innings in a victory at Milwaukee on Saturday.
The Twins, trailing 1-0, scored four in the third on Kyle Garlick’s RBI double and Garver’s second homer of the season, a three-run shot.
Buxton made it 5-1 in the fifth as the Twins started to break the game open. Arraez, batting ninth because Seattle started lefthander Marco Gonzalez, connected for his first of the season in the seventh.
Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala and Brandon Waddell had scoreless stints in relief of Berrios.
The teams have Friday off before the three-game series resumes Saturday.