Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: Mauer vs. Chapman was one for the ages

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: June 24, 2012 - 6:40 PM

CINCINNATI -- I’m not sure how many of Joe Mauer’s 4,178 career plate appearances I’ve seen, but it’s a high percentage, and his ninth-inning battle Sunday with Aroldis Chapman stands out as one I’ll never forget.

*** I’d love to provide a list here of Mauer’s other most memorable PA’s, but my time is limited, so I know it'd be incomplete. Off the top of my head, I remember when he clinched the batting title against the White Sox on the final day of the 2006 season. I remember an epic battle with Zack Greinke late in the 2009 season, the year Mauer won his MVP award and Greinke won his Cy Young. (I’d take your suggestions below in the comment section if others come to mind.)

Anyway, the point is, Mauer vs. Chapman is not something you see every day. To my knowledge, they’d never faced each other, at any level. With Chapman, it’s not just the 102-miles per hour fastball, it’s the fact he can compliment that with a 90-mph slider. He’s lefthanded. And no, Mauer admitted, no amount of video preparation can prepare you for a moment like this.

“Not really,” Mauer said. “Even with [Reds starter] Mike Leake -- his ball was moving all over the place, and you really can’t see that on video.”

So what do you do?

“With those guys throwing so hard you just try to stay short and quick,” Mauer said. “He’s got great stuff. The one I swung through to get to 0-2 was a slider, and I could kind of see it there.”

Again, here was the pitch sequence:

1. Fastball -- 99 mph (called strike)
2. Slider -- 89 mph (swinging strike)
3. Fastball -- 102 mph (foul)
4. Slider -- 91 (ball 1)
5. Fastball -- 100 mph (foul)
6. Fastball -- 101 mph (foul)
7. Slider -- 88 mph (ball 2)
8. Slider -- 88 mph (ball 3)
9. Fastball -- 97 mph (foul)
10. Fastball -- 99 mph (in play)

That last pitch was down the middle, and Mauer drilled it off the left-field wall for a double. It was the first extra-base hit Chapman had allowed against a lefthanded batter all season. The 24-year-old from Cuba was clearly frustrated, and Josh Willingham followed with a majestic two-run homer.

Willingham said Mauer's at-bat was the key to the inning.

“Those are situations you want to be in," Mauer said. "Like I said, the guy’s got great stuff. He’s probably one of the best lefties out there, and you want to be in that situation where you need to be on base and you need to try to score a run for your team. My job there was to try to get on base, and Willingham came right after me and did his job. That was a huge win for us.”

Gardenhire called Mauer's at-bat "unbelievable."

“He just sees the ball,” Gardenhire said. “The guy [Chapman’s] filthy. He laid off some nasty sliders that were probably 90-plus miles per hour. Joe’s just a great hitter, and he can do things that other people can’t. Left on left there against that guy; you won’t see a tougher situation, not too many anyway.”


Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
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St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
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BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
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Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
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