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: Dozier enjoyed victimizing a friend

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 31, 2013 - 12:53 AM

There were about seven different story angles to the Twins' 3-2 win over the Rangers, an upset that may have ranked with Kansas State-North Dakota State on Friday night. The Twins were coming in on a five-game losing streak, had looked absolutely feeble for a week, and were facing probably the most unhittable pitcher in the American League. Yu Darvish, in fact, became the first American League pitcher Friday night since Johan Santana in 2004 to strike out 60 batters in one month, and he was facing a pitcher who was 1-12 in his career, had an ERA of 6.20 this season, and who was backed by an offense that had not scored more than one run in an inning for an entire week.

So here are a handful of vignettes you may have missed:

-- Brian Dozier made a couple of diving stops to save runs, each time robbing a Ranger of a ground-ball single with two outs and a runner in scoring position. "I came through the system with Brian, and he's been making those plays his whole career," said an appreciative Liam Hendriks. "It's unreal what he can do with his glove."

Yeah, Mitch Moreland thought so, too. Moreland and Dozier grew up near each other in northeast Mississippi and have known each other a long time, so Dozier said he took some extra joy in reaching his friend's grounder to end the sixth inning. "Me and Mitch are close friends. The same thing happened at our place," in Target Field, Dozier said. "After I [made the play], I'm running in. I got to the grass and I looked back, and he's giving me the mean mug the whole way."

-- Before the game, general manager Terry Ryan said, as he had earlier in the day on 1500 ESPN Radio, that "I'd like to see more out of Trevor Plouffe, on offense and defense." Then Plouffe made a play that may have cost the Twins a run.

The third baseman stroked a seventh-inning double that knocked Darvish out of the game. But when Clete Thomas followed with a two-out single, Plouffe arrived at home plate a half-second before Leonys Martin's strong throw.
Plouffe kept his feet and simply tried to touch the plate, unsuccessfully, as catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged him out.

"Plouffie said he thought he was going to have to run the catcher over, then saw the ball come in at the last second," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But he's got to slide. He knows it, we all know it. Mastro [on-deck hitter Darin Mastroianni] was back there telling him to get down. He's got to slide."

-- Weird irony: One baserunner was out for not sliding, another was out for oversliding. Pedro Florimon stole second in the eighth inning, but slid past the bag and was tagged out.

-- I'm still amazed that Chris Herrmann is the hero, hitting a home run to break up a no-hitter, on the night his parents get to see him play for the first time in the big leagues. His family came to Minneapolis last September, but Herrmann never got into a game. So they finally get here, and he goes Roy Hobbs for them. Afterward, Herrmann was in a hurry to finish his interviews, since he said he hadn't seen his family for six months.

-- More tomorrow, with Matt Garza making his second career start against the team that drafted him.
 

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