A few extras from a long day of baseball:
Brian Dozier had three hits on Sunday, including his history-making 35th home run, but he was still annoyed by his last at-bat. It came in the 11th inning, with Kurt Suzuki on first base and two outs, and the score tied. Dozier was facing Chicago righthander Juan Minaya, and looking for his pitch.
He got it, too.
“The previous couple at-bats, they didn’t give me anything to hit,” including a ninth-inning intentional walk, Dozier said. Minaya didn’t seem like he would, either, using nothing but sliders against Dozier. But when the count reached 2-1, “I knew he was going to challenge me,” Dozier said, and sure enough, here came a 93-mph faster. Dozier swung, and tipped the ball foul.
“I was late on it. I got my pitch to hit, and I missed it,” Dozier said. “The next one, had to swing, ground out.”
It took four at-bats Sunday to outproduce his first month with the Twins. The catcher, acquired from the Yankees for Aaron Hicks last winter, singled home Max Kepler in the third inning, the first run Murphy has driven in as a Twin. In the fifth inning, he was even better: Murphy clanged a home run off the foul pole in left field, his first home run since last Sept. 7 while with the Yankees. And he singled again later in the game, matching in just one game the three hits he collected in 40 at-bats in April.
It’s a start: Murphy added 61 points to his batting average, bringing him to .136 on a disappointing season.
“Three-hit days are always nice. They don’t come around very often,” Murphy said. “I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well in [Class AAA] Rochester the last month or so, and hopefully that can transition to seeing the ball up here. Today it did.”
The day wasn’t nearly as kind to Max Kepler. The Twins rookie singled and flew out in his seven at-bats — and struck out the other five times.
In doing so, Kepler became the first Twin in more than 40 years — since Roy Smalley on Aug. 28, 1976 — to whiff five times in a game. He’s also one of only five Twins ever to do so, joining Smalley, Bobby Darwin, Sandy Valdespino and Bob Allison in that unfortunate club.
Kurt Suzuki tied the game with a pinch-hit double off Chicago closer David Robertson in the ninth inning, an impressive bit of clutch hitting that he followed up with a single in the 11th inning. It marked the first time in Suzuki’s career that he has had multiple hits in a game he didn’t start. It’s also the first time Twins catchers have had five hits in a game since Joe Mauer went 5-for-7 against Cleveland on Aug. 14, 2013.
Sunday’s game was the fourth-longest in Target Field history, and longest since May 1, 2014, when the Dodgers and Twins took five hours and 11 minutes to play 12 innings of a 4-3 Twins loss — in the second game of a doubleheader.