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.

Pregame: Vargas puts on a show, but Lester awaits

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 7, 2014 - 8:07 PM

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- If nothing else, Kennys Vargas may convince fans to show up a little early for Twins game in the future. His batting practice sessions are already entertaining.

    Taking swings in his first visit to Coliseum, Vargas launched a handful of towering blasts that had the early arrivals cheering, including one rocket that bounced off the window of a football luxury suite, probably 50 feet above the outfield wall. It's impressive.

    But it's also meaningless, two hours before game time, because Vargas and his Twins teammates won't be facing a batting-practice pitcher tonight, the first of a four-game series with the A's. They get Jon Lester, Oakland's newly acquired lefthanded ace, a pitcher who has already held them this season to one run on four hits in Fenway Park. Minnesota actually has had some OK success in the past against Lester -- he's 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA in nine career starts against the Twins -- but now he's pitching in front of a better defense, in a more spacious ballpark.

    "He's a good one, a big horse. He just keeps pouring it in there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He cuts it, [has a] nice little changeup, a breaking ball. He's a very competitive pitcher."

    The Twins will start Yohan Pino, who has lasted at least six innings in four of his last five starts. Here are tonight's lineups for the 9:10 p.m. CT start:




Santana CF

Dozier 2B

Plouffe 3B

Willingham LF

Vargas DH

Arcia RF

Suzuki C

Colabello 1B

Escobar SS


Pino RHP




Crisp CF

Jaso DH

Donaldson 3B

Moss LF

Norris C

Reddick RF

Callaspo 2B

Vogt 1B

Sogard SS


Lester LHP


Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 FINAL
Utah 98
LA Clippers 126 FINAL
Portland 122
New Orleans 113 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Anaheim 5
Colorado 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Loyola-Chicago 63 FINAL
ULM 62
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66
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