CHICAGO – Nick Gordon hit a two-run homer and two singles, Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler each had three hits and two RBIs, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago Cubs 9-5 on Tuesday night.
Mitch Garver added three singles and an RBI in his return from a back injury to help last-place Minnesota end a two-game slide. Byron Buxton had two hits and scored twice as the Twins rode a 16-hit attack to win for just the third time in nine games.
“It really was an explosive effort from our guys,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Really, everywhere you looked, there were good swings. It felt like we had guys on base all day long.”
Thirteen of the Twins' hits were singles. Donaldson and Miguel Sanó doubled, but the wiry Gordon's opposite field shot to left — and into a steady wind from the north — was the surprising blow.
“Nicky's got a little pop in that bat,” Donaldson said. “It went out pretty decent. The wind was knocking some balls down, so it was pretty impressive.”
Willson Contreras and Trayce Thompson cracked solo shots for the Cubs at breezy Wrigley Field. Patrick Wisdom drove in two and fellow rookie Frank Schwindel doubled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, but Chicago lost for the fifth time in six.
Thompson homered for the second straight game and for the second time in eight at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa a week ago. Thompson, who bounced around the minors after playing 51 games with Oakland and the White Sox in 2018, is the brother of Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson.
“It's still early, but you can tell he’s definitely got some thunder in there,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Contreras’ 21st homer was his second in three games. The Cubs catcher also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Rafael Ortega had two hits and scored twice.
Kyle Barraclough (2-0), the first of six Twins relievers, got five outs for the win. Cubs starter Alec Mills (6-7) allowed seven runs on six hits in four innings.
“Any time we score five runs, we need to win that game.” Mills said. "That one's on me.
“I think they still put some good swings on some decent pitches, but at the same time I've got to be better than that.”
The Twins scored twice in the first, on Contreras’ throwing error and Donaldson’s sac fly. The Cubs got one back in the back in the bottom half on Contreras’ sac fly.
Thompson’s homer to right in the second tied it at 2. Contreras’ drive to left in the made it 3-2.
Kepler’s RBI single in the fourth tied it, then Gordon put the Twins ahead 5-3 with his homer to left, and into a steady wind from the north. The Twins add two more runs in the fifth to chase Mills.
Twins starter Griffin Jax hit three Cubs batters in three innings in a no-decision after hitting just two batters in 15 previous games.
“I had a little bit of an issue gripping the ball,” Jax said “On a night like tonight when it was a little colder, there wasn't a lot of moisture.”
Jax struck out six, walked two and gave up two homers and three runs. The right-hander entered on a three-game losing streak through his previous five starts with 9.36 ERA over the span.
Garver, the Twins veteran catcher, came back from low back tightness that kept him out for 25 games.
“To come up and find the barrel three times was pretty good for me,” said Garver, who had a three-game rehab stint with Triple-A St. Paul.
The last time Garver returned from a long spell on the IL — on July 19 against the White Sox and from a groin injury — Garver slugged two homers.
“Mitch has found a way to come back and have good quality, just solid at-bats,” Baldelli said.
Baldelli expects to play Garver every other day.
Twins: SS Andrelton Simmons was reinstated from the restricted list and was available off the bench. The Curacao native missed a three-game series in Toronto last weekend due to visa issues. ... To make room on the roster for Garver and Simmons, the Twins optioned C Ben Rortvedt and INF Drew Maggi to Triple-A St. Paul.
Cubs: OF Alfonso Rivas was placed on the 10-day IL with an injured right middle finger. OF Nick Martini was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take his place on the roster.
Twins RHP Joe Ryan (1-1, 2.12) faces Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.81) on Wednesday night.