Homers on the rise at Target Field

Homers on the rise at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS -- Home runs are up at Target Field this year, as there have been 100 homers in 45 games prior to Monday's game against the Orioles, after 126 were hit there in 81 games in 2011.

The Twins have accounted for 43 homers while opponents have combined for 57 blasts. It's led to 2.22 homers per game, which is up from 1.55 in '11 and 1.43 in '10.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire pointed to warmer weather as part of the reason, but also pointed out his team has been giving up too many long balls.

"That's exactly what I think -- it's carrying, especially with those belt-high fastballs," Gardenhire joked. "Those carry really well."

ESPN's MLB Park Factor, which compares the rate of stats at home against the rate on the road, has Target Field as a neutral park for homers this season, as they rank 16th in the Majors in home run park factor. It's up from ranking as the 20th-toughest place to homer in '11 and the toughest in baseball to homer in '10.

Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome, who played with the Twins in '10 and '11, said he's heard plenty of theories about the increase in homers in the park's third season.

"One of the theories you always hear is once concrete settles in, the ball carries better," Thome said. "I think when you look at it, we're having a hot summer, maybe that has a little bit of an effect.

"So I think there's a lot of different theories you can come up with on why it's happening, or why this is happening, but it's a great place."