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: Trading belts and dropping throws

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: September 4, 2013 - 1:05 AM

Ron Gardenhire said "a bunch of stuff happened" during Tuesday's 12-inning game, played before a tiny crowd -- the manager called it an "everybody-gets-a-foul-ball crowd" -- in Minute Maid Park. Here are just a couple of them:

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Chris Colabello ran off the field like he had just shoplifted someone's glove in the seventh inning Tuesday, trying to play it like he had planned one of the game's most critical plays all along.

"I'm going, 'Yeah, I was setting him up,' " Colabello said of his fumble, recovery and perfect throw home to nail Brandon Barnes at the plate as he tried to score what would have been the tying run in a 4-3 game at the time. "They were saying, 'You fooled him.' "

But he came clean after the game. "I wouldn't say it was on purpose, no," Colabello confessed of the 1-4-3-2 putout. "I'm just glad it worked out."

There were two outs, with Marwin Gonzalez on first base and Barnes on third with the tying run, when pitcher Brian Duensing caught Gonzalez heading for second base. Gonzalez froze, Barnes edged a few steps closer to the plate, and Brian Dozier tried to decide what to do.

When it appeared Barnes would retreat toward third, Dozier ran Gonzalez toward first a couple of steps, then threw the ball to Colabello. That's when things slowed down for the first baseman.

"I was moving to take the ball out of my glove, and it was like slow motion. I felt it going off my hand, and I thought, 'This ball's going to fall out of my glove,' " Colabello said of his apparent error. But the ball merely dropped to the ground in front of him, only a couple of feet away. "As it was happeneing, I was processing it. I thought, if he tries to break on me, I've got a shot at getting him out."

Sure enough, Barnes decided Colabello couldn't recover, and broke for the plate. But the first baseman didn't panic.

"I knew when Doz threw the ball, he had taken a step back. He definitely didn't have momentum going home," Colabello said. "My first instinct was to turn toward home," and he made a good throw to Josmil Pinto at the plate, who easily tagged Barnes as he ran past.

"It's something you don't see too often, but I'm glad it worked out," Colabello said. "But it was definitely not on purpose."

Maybe it should be.

XXX

Josh Roenicke earned his first American League save on Wednesday. Maybe he should be credited with two.

The Twins' reliever jumped into action when called upon Tuesday, not by throwing strikes, but by taking off his belt.

"Good thing he was right there," Mastroianni said with a smile.

That's because, when Joe Altuve launched a deep drive to the left-field warning track leading off the fourth inning, Mastroianni had to dive to reach it, sliding on his stomach as he held up the ball. When he got to his feet, right in front of the Twins' bullpen, "I noticed my belt had broke in half," Mastroianni said. "Roenicke was right there, and he gave me his and we made a quick change. I didn't have much time, so I got it off and on in a hurry."

He should have seen this coming. Mastroianni forgot to pack his uniform belt for the road trip, "so I just took an old one from one of the cases," he said. "It was an old one, and it snapped on me."

The holes in the bullpen fence were just big enough to get the belt buckle through, Mastroianni said, but the outfield doesn't afford much privacy. "I was kind of hoping they weren't showing it," he said of his switch. "But then I saw it was up there [on the giant video board] the whole time."

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