Postgame: Doumit hit slider when it mattered
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- July 13, 2013 - 6:44 PM
NEW YORK -- Lots of leftovers from Saturday's matinee at Yankee Stadium, a rare (lately) Twins' win:
Ryan Doumit was impressed with Phil Hughes' backdoor slider, the pitch that the Yankee' righthander repeatedly looped across the plate against Twins' lefthanded batters. So impressed, in fact, that he knew it was coming with two strikes in the seventh inning. So he hit it out.
"That's a very effective pitch for him. It's the first time I've faced Hughes where he's thrown that backdoor slider. It was nasty," said Doumit, who struck out twice when he was startled to see the pitch start outside and then dart across the inside corner.
"He would get a couple of strikes and backdoor the slider," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We know that's what he does. When he was in Minnesota [10 days ago], he was really pounding us in and then going to the backdoor slider."
Three times might be too man, though. On Doumit's third at-bat, "I kind of thought back to how he's pitched me and how he's been pitching everybody else," Doumit said. "I thought [there was a] pretty good chance I might get a slider."
After two fastballs ran the count to 1-1, Hughes started trying it, throwing three in a row, one fouled back. On 2-2, "I told myself, 'see it up.' I got one that I could put a good part of the bat on," Doumit said.
The result was a line shot into the lower deck in right, breaking the 1-1 tie and sending the Twins to their first victory in a week.
"That one got the middle part of the plate," Gardenhire said. "In this ballpark, that's a homer. Good ballpark for him to do that in."
Doumit made a big defensive play, too, foiling a double-steal by throwing out Yankees baserunner Zoilo Almonte at second base before Vernon Wells could race home from third.
"That came from the bench," Doumit said of the decision to throw to second base, rather than play it safe by holding the ball. "First and third situation, I always look at Gardy, he gives the sign. He gave me the throw-through, and on that, the shortstop is supposed to come up, if he sees the guy breaking for home, to cut it off and throw home."
Pedro Florimon, seeing Wells break late from third, let the throw go through, and Brian Dozier easily tagged out Alimonte.
"He thought we had plenty of time to get Almonte," Doumit said. "Good play."
Casey Fien threw his best breaking ball in the eighth inning. Which wasn't a great idea, since he was throwing to second base.
But Pedro Florimon made a stretching catch and saved the play, helping Fien pitch a scoreless inning.
The play started with Ichiro Suzuki on first base, when Robinson Cano tapped back to the mound.
"I grabbed the ball. I was just trying to be quick with it because I knew Ichiro was running. But I just gripped the ball wrong," Fien said. "I even tried to adjust mid-throw, because I knew it was going to cut. Thank goodness I didn't throw it [directly] at him, because it would have gone into center field."
Florimon caught it with his toe barely on the bag, then tried to relay the ball to first, but it dribbled slowly toward Justin Morneau. Cano was safe, but the lead runner was out.
"Just the catch alone was awesome," Fien said of Florimon's play. "As long as he didn't throw it away, it was all right with me."
Fien, by the way, has 30 relatives in town for the series, part of an informal family reunion.
The Twins have not heard yet about any fine for Justin Morneau, Terry Ryan said, but the general manager said he was impressed by his first baseman's actions after his momentary tantrum on Friday.
"On his behalf, I think he did a good job of getting under control. He's got respect for the game, and whatever happens, he'll accept it," Ryan said.
Most impressive, he added: Morneau threw his bat, but then composed himself and picked it up.
"The man picked that bat up. Here's a guy that's an MVP, he was going through a difficult at-bat there," Ryan said. "I think that was a tremendous response. I respect that a lot."
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