No matter the spin, it's a hit for Dozier (with video)

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2012 - 8:22 AM
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During the Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins home game (game one), short stop Brian Dozier celebrates his run with catcher Ryan Doumit in the fifth inning at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. on Saturday, June 30, 2012. The Twins won 7-2.

Photo: Megan Tan, Star Tribune

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Twins shortstop Brian Dozier still had the magical baseball sitting in his locker after Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Royals.

In the fifth inning, that ball dropped off Dozier's bat on the foul side of the righthanded batter's box, but it kept spinning and eventually rolled into fair territory, along the first base line. Players are used to seeing foul balls roll fair by a few inches, but this reversed course by 5 feet.

Royals pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and catcher Brayan Pena converged on the ball, leaving home plate vacant. Ryan Doumit, who started the play on second base, saw the opening and hustled home.

"Never seen one spin like that," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We got the ball. It will be in 'Ripley's Believe it or Not,' or the Guinness Book of World Records for farthest foul ball ever called fair."

The ball actually had a big knot on it and looked lopsided, which might help explain that miraculous spin. Asked when he decided to run, Dozier said, "When I saw it on the grass [along the first base line], and I saw the amount of spin on it, I was like, why not? I'm dying for a hit, so let's take off and see what happens."

It looks like a frozen-rope RBI single in the boxscore.

Stop, thieves!

The Twins stole five bases in Game 1 -- their previous season high was three -- with all of them coming against Kansas City's starting battery of Sanchez and Pena.

The Twins executed two double steals and stole third base three times. Of course, they also had two runners thrown out at the plate.

"We were going to be aggressive on the basepaths, try to take what we could get," Gardenhire said.

Diamond cutting early

The Royals had several quick at-bats against Twins lefthander Scott Diamond in Game 1, continuing a trend of opponents swinging early in the count against him. Diamond had a six-pitch first-inning, and needed only 48 pitches to get through the first five.

Teams know they should be aggressive against Diamond because he has issued only 11 walks in 72 innings pitched this year.

"That is where his talent kicks in," said Doumit, who caught Diamond in Game 1. "Because he knows they're an aggressive team, and he can put the ball just off enough to where they know they're going to swing but know they can't do much with it."

Appreciation grows

Ben Revere was a .326 hitter coming through the minors, and after batting .267 for the Twins last year, he is batting .320 this year.

"He's just that dynamite personality," Gardenhire said. "He's fun to watch. He's acrobatic, he makes plays, he tumbles, he's got that big smile. He tried to score on a ball one foot away from home plate [last week]. That's what he thinks he can do, and I like that."

Etc.

• Mitchell Seopa, a young fan wearing a bright orange shirt, collected a foul ball down the left-field line in Game 2, then got out of his seat to give it to another young fan. Watching from the Twins dugout as this scene unfolded on the video scoreboard, lefthander Brian Duensing decided Seopa should be rewarded for his kindness, so the pitcher left six tickets for Seopa to Sunday's game.

• The Twins had Nick Blackburn in the bullpen available to pitch in relief during the doubleheader. Saturday was Blackburn's day for a between-starts bullpen session.

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