KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Twins starter Nick Blackburn left Saturday night's 7-2 victory over the Royals after five innings because of a lower-back strain.
Blackburn said he injured himself reaching up to catch a bouncer from Alcides Escobar to end the fourth inning.
"I don’t think it’s going to be anything serious," Blackburn said. "I went out there and threw the fifth [inning]. It didn’t feel great. I wasn’t real comfortable, but obviously it’s not something very severe if you’re able to go out and pitch."
Blackburn (5-4), who won his fourth straight decision, said pitching coach Rick Anderson and the training staff removed him as a precaution. He said he'll know a lot more about the injury when he wakes up Sunday.
Brian Dinkelman had an impressive major league debut for the Twins, and there were two large sections of fans on their feet cheering for him at Kauffman Stadium.
The first pitch Dinkelman saw as a big leaguer hit him in the foot, putting him on base. He lined out on a hard shot to center in his second at-bat. In the fifth inning, he made a diving catch to rob Alex Gordon of a hit. That proved big as Blackburn gave up two hits later in the inning, pitching through back stiffness.
When Dinkelman, 27, lined a single to left field in the sixth inning, the Twins made sure to save him the ball.
Then, in the seventh inning, with two outs and runners on second and third, Royals manager Ned Yost ordered Dinkelman intentionally walked. According to Elias, Dinkelman is the first American League player with an intentional walk in his major league debut since Luis Lopez on April 29, 2001.
Dinkelman finished 1-for-3. He hails from Centralia, Ill., which is about a five-hour drive from Kansas City. His fans saluted him with chants of "DINK-EL-MAN!" and "MVP!"
"I think he’s got more fans than most people on our team now," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a lot of fun."