MINNEAPOLIS — Miguel Sano has taken to calling Kennys Vargas “Lil’ Big Papi,” a nod to retired Dominican slugger David Ortiz.
Vargas certainly looked the part on Tuesday night, albeit from the right side of the plate.
Vargas hit a 483-foot drive and Sano added another long homer to help the Minnesota Twins bounce back from a demoralizing sweep by beating the Chicago White Sox 9-7 on Tuesday night.
When he got to the dugout, “they tell me I’m a monster,” Vargas said with a laugh.
The homers helped the Twins overcome a rough outing from Ervin Santana (9-4), who gave up six runs on 10 hits and struck out six in five innings. Brandon Kintzler pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 21 tries.
Jose Abreu went 4 for 5 with a home run and two doubles for the White Sox, and Avisail Garcia had a homer and two RBIs. He leads the American League with a .339 batting average.
Derek Holland (5-7) allowed seven runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings for Chicago.
“It was a pretty embarrassing performance. I’m really upset about the whole thing, because I had the stuff coming out of the ‘pen,” Holland said. “To go out to the game and let it slip up like that is just unacceptable.”
The Twins won for just the 15th time in 39 games at Target Field, tied with the White Sox for fewest home wins in the American League. This one was much-needed after Cleveland took four straight at Target Field to sweep the Twins out of first place in the AL Central last weekend.
Sano got things started for the Twins with a two-run shot in the first inning, and Vargas’ drive landed in the second deck in left-center to highlight a five-run third that put Minnesota up 7-4. Only Yankees rookie Aaron Judge (495 feet) and Milwaukee’s Keon Broxton (489 feet) have hit longer home runs this season, according to MLB’s Statcast.
The White Sox pulled to 8-7 on Abreu’s solo homer in the sixth, but Garcia made two errors in right field in the eighth to give the Twins a little cushion.