Sánchez slugs long homer, Twins pound Diamondbacks 11-1

PHOENIX (AP) — Dylan Bundy said his job was simple once it became obvious that Minnesota’s offense was going to have a big day.

Get his teammates back up to the plate as quickly as possible.

The veteran right-hander obliged with eight efficient innings while the Twins built a big advantage early, and Minnesota cruised to an 11-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

“Your defense doesn’t want to be sitting out there, especially when they’re itching to get back to the bat rack,” Bundy said.

The Twins jumped ahead for a 6-0 lead with their big third inning, highlighted by a mammoth two-out, two-run homer from Gary Sánchez that traveled 456 feet into the left-center seats and left his bat at over 107 mph. It was the two-time All-Star’s eighth homer of the season.

Alex Kirilloff — recently called up from Triple-A — added a two-run double. The Twins did ample offensive damage even without star slugger Byron Buxton, who had a scheduled day off.

“We made really good adjustments tonight, quickly,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s nice to see good, quality at-bats, hard-hit balls, stacking on top of each and turning into runs.”

Ryan Jeffers added a two-run homer in the seventh that pushed the score to 11-1. All of the Twins starters had at least one hit.

Bundy (4-3) retired the first 10 hitters he faced before Alek Thomas bounced a single through the middle of the infield.

It was a much-needed good outing for the veteran right-hander, who gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked none. He came into the game with a 5.87 ERA and had given up 13 earned runs over his previous 12 1/3 innings.

Bundy said he tried to keep the same approach throughout the game, even after he was staked to a big lead.

“You just try not to think about it,” Bundy said. “You throw strikes, command the ball and work ahead.”

It was a rough night for D-backs starter Luke Weaver (1-1), who gave up nine earned runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.

Weaver was making his first start of the season after two relief appearances. The right-hander missed the first two months of the season with elbow inflammation. He was once viewed as a future cornerstone of the D-backs’ rotation, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the success he had in 2019 when he had a 2.94 ERA over 12 starts.

D-backs infielder Jake Hager made his third pitching appearance of the season, tossing a scoreless ninth. Arizona scored its lone run when Carson Kelly brought home David Peralta with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

HITS GALORE

Twins leadoff hitter Luis Arraez was 2 for 2 with a walk, raising his average to an AL-best .363. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning with Minnesota leading 9-0.

Baldelli said the second baseman was battling a non-COVID illness.

ROOKIE SUCCESS

The D-backs have received a big lift from Thomas, a 22-year-old rookie who has quickly become the team’s starting center fielder since being called up May 8.

The highly-touted prospect — who came into the game hitting .276 with five homers — extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his single in the fourth.

Fellow rookie Buddy Kennedy had the first extra-base hit of his career with a triple in the fifth. The 23-year-old made his big league debut on Friday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: IF Ketel Marte (hamstring) remains day-to-day. He hasn’t played since Wednesday. … RF Daulton Varsho left the game in the sixth with a heel contusion. He limped off the field after trying to beat out an infield single and was replaced by Jordan Luplow.

“He’s a very physical, fast runner, trying to leg out a base hit and just hit it on the wrong spot,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ll continue to evaluate him through the rest of the night here and on into the morning. We’ll see how he feels. For right now, he’ll be day to day.”

UP NEXT

The two teams play their series finale on Sunday. RHP Merrill Kelly (5-4, 3.68 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Diamondbacks. The Twins will counter with RHP Chris Archer (1-2, 3.35).

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