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: 3 thoughts on Twins' 9-5 loss

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 5, 2013 - 8:33 PM

1. Watching it live, I thought Trevor Plouffe had butchered a force out at third base in the fourth inning, a play that scored Baltimore's second run. But after checking out the replay and talking to him after the game, I realize that Plouffe was no different from a pitcher scrambling over to cover first base while trying to catch a throw on the run. And his was even more difficult, because he was backing up.

Bases were loaded when J.J. Hardy chopped a ball to Eduardo Escobar at short. The grounder was too soft to turn a double play, and Escobar was moving to his right, so it was a tough play at first, too. So he took the short play to Plouffe at third for the force.

Trouble was, Plouffe had taken a step toward the ball when it was hit, so he had to retreat back to the base while keeping his eyes glued to Escobar. That's not easy.

"I'm blind to the bag, basically. I'm trying to find it, trying to rely on instincts to get back there," Plouffe said. Replays suggested that Plouffe grazed the bag with his right foot, but umpire Phil Cuzzi didn't think so, and neither did Plouffe. He tried to tag Chris Davis as he slid into the bag, but with his momentum carrying him away from the base, Plouffe could only reach Davis once he was on the bag.

It scored a run, but Liam Hendriks prevented further damage by getting a strikeout and two popups on the next three hitters.

2. That play aside, small plays on defense were still nicking the Twins on Friday. The most notable was on Adam Jones' double in the fifth inning, in which Aaron Hicks didn't seem to realize the ball was carrying all the way to the fence until too late.

"I just think he crushed it," Ron Gardenhire said. "We saw a couple of balls out there that flew pretty good."

Hicks recovered quickly and got the ball into the infield in time, it appeared, to throw out Nick Markakis at the plate. But Ryan Doumit had trouble with the relay throw, and it bounced away, allowing Jones to move up to third base.

3. Count this game as an example of how modern bullpen roles, and the care that teams now take with their relievers' arms, handcuff major-league managers.

The Orioles' eighth-inning rally might not have happened had the Twins' setup man, Jared Burton, been available, but the team is understandably being cautious, particularly early in the year, with a pitcher who has a history of shoulder problems. Burton threw 12 pitches on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday, and the Twins are trying to avoid using him three games in a row. So Gardenhire was left to, as he said, "try to basically figure out ... how to get through our bullpen as best we possibly could with match-ups, and not kill everybody."

That's also why he used Tyler Robertson instead of Glen Perkins in the eighth inning; closers are almost universally reserved for the ninth inning in today's game, and no manager wants to overuse his best relievers in Week 1. He just didn't expect Robertson to give Davis such a hittable pitch. No wonder Gardenhire said afterward, "We were a little beat up in our bullpen. ... We just need our starter to go deeper into the ballgame."


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
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
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
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 101 1st OT 0:52
San Antonio 104
LA Clippers 70 3rd Qtr 2:53
Denver 64
Oklahoma City 0 1st Qtr 10:22
LA Lakers 2
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 3rd Prd
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 51 2nd Half 4:50
Creighton 69
Colorado State 78 2nd Half 0:48
Denver 71
Alabama A&M 46 2nd Half 1:11
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 44 2nd Half 5:11
Texas Tech 60
Eastern Wash 24 1st Half 3:38
California 29
Idaho State 20 1st Half 3:43
Utah State 26
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
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
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
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
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 67 2nd Half 2:21
Southern Ill 54
Pacific 28 1st Half 7:12
New Mexico St 13
No Dakota State 35 2nd Half
Cal State Fullerton 45
Utah State 39 1st Half 0:23
Sacramento St 44
Bethesda (CA) 17 1st Half 5:50
Fresno State 18
Utah Valley U 21 2nd Half
Montana 34
LSU 2 1st Half 17:05
UC Santa Barbara 2
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