For two months, Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has been among the hottest hitters in baseball.
Dozier was at it again on Saturday night, cranking his 25th homer of the season — and 100th of his major league career — in a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Each team will go for the series win on Sunday, although finding a way to slow down the red-hot Dozier might prove difficult for the defending World Series champions.
Dozier’s 18 home runs since June 19 are the most in baseball, and the fifth-year player is suddenly on track for career highs in nearly every major offensive category.
“I think everything, for a while now, has just been feeling good and clicking on all cylinders,” Dozier said. “Everything feels really comfortable. Hitting is never easy, but the more you simplify it, it makes it a lot easier.”
Besides home runs, Dozier has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games and has an extra-base hit in five straight.
“Dozier’s just been incredible for us,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s been fun to watch.”
Minnesota has made a habit of hitting home runs lately. They are among the best in the league during the last month and hit three more off Royals starter Dillon Gee on Saturday.
Gee was doing a nice job of navigating through the Twins’ lineup until back-to-back homers in the sixth inning ended his night and put the game out of reach.
“He was throwing the ball well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was one hitter away from having a really, really good outing.”
Kansas City will send right-hander Edinson Volquez to the mound in an attempt to get back on track. Volquez has been shelled in each of his last three outings, allowing four or more runs each time out. He has allowed 11 runs and 21 hits in his last 11 innings.
Volquez has been solid against Minnesota in two starts this season, however, giving up two earned runs, six hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings and getting the win at Target Field on May 24.
The Twins will send left-hander Hector Santiago to the mound in search of his first win since being traded to Minnesota on Aug. 1. Santiago was burned for five runs (four earned), seven hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to Houston on Tuesday.