Twins' walk-off celebrations take on life of own

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2013 - 11:48 PM
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Twins players mobbed Brian Dozier after his walk-off single against the Astros on Friday night.

Photo: David Joles, DML - Star Tribune

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Brian Dozier lined a single to right on Friday, rounded first base, then braced for trouble. He got rid of his helmet, put his arms up for defense, and turned to face the stampede.

Didn’t work.

“I think I got hit about 20 times in the stomach by [Pedro] Florimon,” Dozier said a day after collecting the first walk-off game-winner of his career. “It was kind of a crazy moment.”

Crazy, but sort of common these days. Walk-off wins usually involve lots of celebration these days, starting with chasing the game-winner around the field, tearing his jersey off him and pounding him with congratulations, then pouring Gatorade on his head and smooshing his face with shaving cream.

“It’s not really that spontaneous anymore, because everyone does it,” said Trevor Plouffe, who handled the red-Gatorade duties during Dozier’s postgame interview. “But at the same time, it’s fun. Walk-offs don’t happen very often. Big games, big moments that warrant that stuff don’t happen very often. So when they do come around, you want to give them the whole shebang. Whether it’s a Gatorade shower or a piece of cake to the face, you want to give them something memorable.”

Dozier, for one, won’t ever forget his celebration. For all the gut shots by Florimon, he enjoyed the moment.

“I took off my helmet, and I didn’t leave my feet. Well, until [Ryan] Doumit picked me up. But that’s Doumit.”

It’s a phenomenon that started about a decade or two ago, and gradually became more intense. Nick Punto became known as “Shredder” when he was with the Twins for his habit of ripping the jersey from game-winning hitters.

Thomas steals home

Clete Thomas pulled off the Twins’ first steal of home in more than 11 years, breaking for the plate from third during Saturday night’s 6-4 victory over Houston after Doug Bernier intentionally got caught in a rundown between first and second base.

“I was looking for [the ball to] go through and see what happens,” said Thomas, the first Twins player to steal home since Torii Hunter on May 4, 2002, against Detroit.

Here’s what happened: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and first baseman Brett Wallace got confused, and Bernier got back to first safely as Thomas scored.

Albers arrives

Andrew Albers reported to the Twins on Saturday, three days before his scheduled major league debut. Albers, called up from Class AAA Rochester to replace fellow Canadian lefthander Scott Diamond, will start Tuesday in Kansas City.

“It’s a good thing I don’t have to pitch today,” said Albers, who went 11-3 at Rochester since mid-June.

He was on the Red Wings’ bus to Rochester until 4 a.m., then was at the airport by 6, only to have his flight cancelled. He finally arrived around 3:15 p.m.

Etc.

• With Sunday’s scheduled starter Dallas Keuchel pitching the 12th and 13th innings in Friday night’s game, the Astros announced they will call up righthander Brad Peacock from Oklahoma City to start the series finale.

• Florimon was in the original Twins lineup Saturday, but the shortstop “tweaked” his wrist during batting practice, General Manager Terry Ryan said, and was scratched in favor of Bernier. The injury isn’t considered serious, Ryan said.

• Also not serious, according to Ryan: the hamstring injury that kept Miguel Sano out of Class AA New Britain’s lineup Friday. The prospect should only miss a game or two, Ryan said.

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