DENVER (AP) — Brian Dozier played his own version of Home Run Derby against the Colorado Rockies, hitting two into the left-field seats.
Next up, the real thing – in his home park.
Dozier had his first career multihomer game to get cranked up for the derby and the Minnesota Twins beat the Rockies 13-5 on Sunday.
“A little momentum going into it,” the second baseman said of Monday’s contest.
At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Dozier doesn’t exactly consider himself a basher of the baseball. But he lined a solo homer in the eighth off Adam Ottavino and added a three-run shot an inning later when Brooks Brown served him a 94-mph fastball.
Dozier’s hoping he can carry that swing over to the contest. His brother is even flying in pitch to him.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Dozier, who has 18 homers this season.
However, he’s not so sure he will even receive the biggest ovation at the contest even if it’s at Target Field. He thinks the return of Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, who came up with the Twins, will draw quite a few roars, too. Morneau also was picked to participate in the derby.
“That’s going to be really exciting,” Dozier said.
Late fill-in Chris Parmelee gave the Twins an early lead as he ignited a five-run first inning with a two-run single. He replaced outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who was scratched with the flu.
The run support turned out to be enough for Phil Hughes (10-5), who picked up his 10th win despite allowing five runs and 10 hits in five innings. It was his first appearance at Coors Field.
“Didn’t like it very much,” Hughes joked of the hitter friendly park. “I didn’t have my best stuff or command or anything really going today.”
Neither did Brett Anderson (0-3). He was rusty in his first outing since April. He allowed six runs – five earned – in five innings. The lefty has been sidelined since breaking his left index finger on April 12 while batting.
“My stuff was terrible, pretty much,” Anderson said. “I’ll put this one behind me. I feel good about staying healthy and go to my next one.”
Minnesota finished a seven-game road swing with a 5-2 record and head into the All-Star break trailing the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers by 10 1-2 games. Dozier thinks the team is in a good spot heading into the second half, especially considering they begin with a 10-game home stand.
“We knew coming into this series, or this whole road trip, not really make-or-break, but a huge test what we’re going to do after the break, whether buy or sell,” Dozier said. “I want to try to do everything to contend.
“In all of our opinions, we think we’re good enough.”
Hughes was able to stave off the Rockies after being staked to an early lead. Colorado trimmed the deficit to 6-5 in Hughes’ last inning, when Morneau scored on Corey Dickerson’s groundout.
Sam Fuld provided some breathing room in the seventh when he brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. Parmelee then added another run when he ran home on a passed ball.
Dozier increased the lead in the eighth with his homer that was just inside the foul pole in left. He then hit another an inning later, giving the Twins a season-high 18 hits.
Nolan Arenado and Morneau each had three hits for the Rockies, who head into the break 13 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
“I think it’s important to get a breather here,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “It’s the only time for six, seven months that we’re able to do that. But when the second half starts we need to play with a sense of urgency.
“I was hoping we could get this series going into the break. Didn’t happen.”
NOTES: Dozier has 69 runs this season. The last Twins player to have more than 68 runs at the break was Rod Carew (70) in 1977. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said INF Danny Santana (left knee) should be ready to return soon after the All-Star break. … Gardenhire will use right-handers Kyle Gibson, Kevin Correia and Hughes in a three-game series against Tampa Bay beginning Friday. … RHP Jordan Lyles (broken left hand) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Weiss said recent X-rays showed Lyles’ hand “needed a little bit more time.” Weiss also said Lyles was involved in a minor car accident Friday night and suffered some facial injuries.