On Aug. 31, Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver smacked his second home run of the day in a game against the Detroit Tigers.
It was also the 268th home run hit by a Twins batter in 2019. With that, Minnesota set the MLB record for long balls by a club in a single season, surpassing the 2018 New York Yankees.
The Twins would go on to lose to Detroit, 10-7. But that's academic. Minnesota sits in first place with a comfortable six-game lead in the American League Central entering play Wednesday. Not coincidentally, these Twinkies are a power-hitting machine unlike any we've ever seen.
At the heart of it all? Ageless veteran Nelson Cruz.
Prior to the 2019 season, the perennially penny-pinching Twins signed Cruz to a one-year, $14.3 million contract. It was a short-term gamble.
Yes, Cruz was a six-time All-Star who clubbed 37 homers for the Seattle Mariners in 2018. He was also set to turn 39 in July and brought essentially zero defensive utility. Designated hitters within sight of their 40th birthdays don't inspire bushels of confidence.
Yet here Cruz is, crushing baseballs as per usual. In 101 games with the Twins, he's hit 35 homers with 92 RBI, a .310 average and a 1.034 OPS.
On Aug. 8, a ruptured ECU tendon in his left wrist appeared to put his season in jeopardy. But Cruz ultimately didn't need surgery and returned to action on Aug. 19.