Twins sweep D-backs behind early outburst

Twins sweep D-backs behind early outburst

MINNEAPOLIS -- They played 8 1/2 innings at Target Field on Sunday afternoon, but the D-backs-Twins game was decided much earlier when Minnesota scored nine runs in the first inning en route to a 12-5 win and a sweep of the three-game series.

With the victory, the Twins gained a game on the Yankees in the American League Wild Card standings. Minnesota is now 2 1/2 games behind New York and tied with Los Angeles for the second Wild Card spot.

Right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-2) was the beneficiary of all the run support, as the 44-year-old picked up career win No. 238. It was Colon's first-ever win against the D-backs, the only team he had not previously beaten. Colon became the 18th player in MLB history to defeat all 30 clubs.

Colon's six-strikeout start

"I was actually surprised there was 18," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "It's still an elite group. It speaks to longevity and a little bit of uniform-changing. Every time he goes out there, I think our guys can't wait to watch him pitch and try to back him up the best we can."

Left-hander T.J. McFarland (4-5) made his first start since July 1, 2014, and it didn't last long. He retired just one batter in the first inning. The Twins sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning and collected six hits. They would add another run in the third to take a 10-0 lead before the D-backs were able to get on the board.

Lamb's solo home run

The D-backs, who are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers and four games up on the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot, were outscored, 27-8, in the series, and they open a four-game series with the Mets on Monday.

"Teams go through stretches like this," McFarland said. "I don't think anybody is too worried in here. We have a great group of guys. We have an offense, we have pitching. We're going to come back. This isn't a great series, but by no means does it mean anybody is freaking out here. We are a great team that's going to come back. We've got a series ahead of us in New York, and that's all we're thinking about is tomorrow's game."

Lovullo on 12-5 loss to Twins

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rosario's grand slam: Minnesota sent 12 batters to the plate and recorded six hits against two different Arizona pitchers during a nine-run outburst in the opening frame. Eddie Rosario capped the offensive explosion with his second career grand slam and the team's second of the season. Rosario launched an 0-2 fastball from Braden Shipley over the right-field wall, marking his 17th homer of the season. Rosario now has six home runs in 18 games this month, and he has hit safely in 10 straight games.

Rosario's grand slam in the 1st

"We have seen [Rosario] play in really good stretches," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "Now we are just starting to see it more consistently. I hope it runs itself right into October, because he's really swinging the bat well."

Rosario on big day for Twins

Not the start they wanted: The D-backs actually had a chance to set an early tone for the game in the first when A.J. Pollock singled with one out in the first and Jake Lamb followed with a walk. Colon, though, found a way to retire Arizona's two most potent hitters -- Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez -- on a flyout and strikeout to end the inning.

"I think we had him on the ropes," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Colon. "A totally different inning might create a totally different outcome, but he made pitches and we didn't execute. He did his job and got out of that mess."

D-backs option Shipley after relief appearance

DANIEL DOES IT AGAIN
For the second time this season, the D-backs turned to utility man Daniel Descalso to pitch the final inning in a lopsided loss. Descalso retired the Twins in order in the eighth. Combined with his Aug. 1 outing against the Cubs, he has set down all six batters he's faced. Descalso also faced one hitter while playing with the Cardinals -- and retired him, too.

Descalso's relief appearance

QUOTABLE
"I think as a team, we're not playing up to our potential right now, and when you play teams that are hot, that's kind of what happens. It's up to us to make an adjustment and get rolling." -- D-backs catcher Chris Iannetta

"Nobody really picked us to do anything this year. Ever since Spring Training, we have been so close-knit as a group that we feel like we are capable of doing something pretty special here. We are starting to see some of the signs of what's to come." -- Twins catcher Chris Gimenez, on the team's mindset during the AL Wild Card chase

Gimenez's solo homer in the 5th

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins scored at least nine runs in the opening frame for the first time since scoring 10 on April 27, 1980, vs. Oakland. It is the third time in Twins history, and seventh in franchise history, that the team has scored nine-plus runs in the first frame.

YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!
Lovullo was ejected for the second time this year in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Shipley hit Gimenez with a pitch. When Ryan Pressly threw inside on Adam Rosales with the first pitch of the seventh, home-plate umpire John Tumpane issued warnings to both teams. Lovullo came out to argue the decision, and he was ejected.

Luvollo gets ejected in the 7th

"I never really quite understood that," Lovullo said of the warning. "If you feel like there's intent the first time, then you should eject the pitcher. And then … I never quite got that. That's what I went out there to talk about. I just wanted clarification on that. He said that I'm not allowed to argue that. I said, 'I need to tell you my point of view' and he said he had enough."

WHAT'S NEXT
D-backs: Taijuan Walker gets the start Monday night as the D-backs open a four-game set against the Mets at Citi Field at 4:10 p.m. MST. The D-backs have won eight of their past nine games against the Mets, including a three-game sweep earlier this year at Chase Field.

Twins: The Twins will begin a five-game set at the White Sox with a doubleheader on Monday at 4:10 p.m. CT. Dillon Gee and Tim Melville are slated to start Monday's doubleheader in Chicago, though the order hasn't been specified.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.