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The secret to the Twins’ newfound offensive success: a sausage in the dugout

ANAHEIM, CALIF. – The Twins needed a spark offensively after a slow start to the season, and the Rally Sausage was born.

When the Twins were scoreless for their first five innings Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, hitting coach David Popkins brought a Cloverdale Foods tangy summer sausage into the dugout and told everyone to tap it before they hit.

The Twins reeled off five straight hits, including back-to-back homers, and a new tradition — something to link the hitters together — was created. The Twins brought the summer sausage on their road trip, and it was tossed to Carlos Santana and Max Kepler after they homered Saturday.

"Everybody touches it before we go to the plate," infielder Kyle Farmer said. "Every at-bat, they just kind of tap it. It just organically happened. ... I hope it lasts the whole year and it doesn't get moldy or anything."

The Twins totaled 32 runs and 45 hits during their three-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels. It's the first time they produced back-to-back games with at least 17 hits since 2010.

"When you're scoring runs and winning some games, you can probably have a little more fun with stuff like that," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Maybe it's because of the sausage that it's all happening in the first place."

The Twins celebrated home runs last year with a "Land of 10,000 Rakes" fishing vest, which is now encased outside of the Twins' clubhouse, and a toy fishing pole. Pablo López bought the items when he saw other teams using props for their home run celebrations.

The summer sausage, as one would expect, was a little more spontaneous.

"I don't know how the sausage ended up in the dugout, but it was there," catcher Ryan Jeffers said.

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Farmer received a summer sausage in his locker after he did a commercial with Cloverdale last year. Farmer didn't want to eat the summer sausage himself, so he put it on the table in the clubhouse.

Popkins, somehow, saw an opportunity and brought the North Dakota-based wurst into the dugout. The hits followed, and the Twins extended their winning streak to seven games.

"It worked," Santana said. "Everything in baseball, when it works, we do it."

Unopened summer sausages can be kept without refrigeration, but some Twins still have concerns about how long they can tap into the sausage for rallies.

"I ain't trying to get no fungus," Byron Buxton said. "I don't care if it's in a bag or not."

Said Baldelli: "The thing hasn't been refrigerated in many days. There is no doubt when that thing opens up, whoever is touching it is in deep trouble. There is no doubt in my mind that we are carrying around something that is very, very unhealthy to the human body."

The Twins apparently would accept the risk of a moldy sausage — Popkins threw it into Jeffers' traveling bag before they went to Anaheim — if it meant more wins.

"Baseball players are messed up," Farmer said.

Etc.

Edouard Julien received a visit from a trainer after swinging and missing at a pitch during his ninth-inning at-bat Sunday. "I think everything is OK," Baldelli said. "He did wince and gesture kind of towards his arm more so than normal."

• The Twins played their 10,000th game in franchise history Sunday. The Twins own a 4,968-5,024-8 all-time record.

• The St. Paul Saints were rained out for the second time in three days and their series finale against Rochester was postponed. Justin Topa was scheduled to make his second appearance on his rehab assignment, but he'll have to wait for St. Paul's next game on Tuesday.