Back in the lineup, Mauer leads Twins to 4-2 victory over Houston

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2014 - 7:02 AM

He provided the winning hit, and another fresh face, pitcher Tommy Milone, was solid in his debut.

– A long Monday for Joe Mauer began with a 6 a.m. wake-up call in St. Paul and a cross-country flight, included lots of hellos and even an unexpected goodbye, and ended in the best way possible: with a game-winning hit.

“Just a crazy day,” said Mauer, who was restored to the roster shortly before the game’s first pitch after nearly six weeks out of action with a strained oblique muscle. “I’m really happy to be back.”

The Twins are, too. Mauer lined a sharp single through the hole at short in the ninth inning, driving home Jordan Schafer with the tiebreaking run (and Brian Dozier, all the way from first, with a bonus run, thanks to some poor Astros decisionmaking), capping a 2-for-4 return with a 4-2 victory over Houston.

“We’ve always said, this guy can get right out of bed and hit,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins won their fourth straight game in Minute Maid Park. “He’s got that swing. Luckily for us, he’s come back with it.”

Too bad Josh Willingham wasn’t there to see it. A roster spot was opened for Mauer just before game time when the slugging outfielder was traded to Kansas City, a transaction that deflated the clubhouse, where Willingham was among its most popular residents.

“It’s been a long, mixed-emotions type of day. Willingham was one of my favorite teammates,” said Mauer. “A great guy. … We’re definitely going to miss him.”

But they’ve got new teammates to get to know now, too. Such as Tommy Milone, who demonstrated Monday that he knows how to pitch out of trouble. The lefty, acquired from the A’s on July 31, delivered six strong innings in his Twins debut, and while he allowed a hit in all six innings, eight in all, plus three more walks, he stranded nearly all of them.

“I was a little amped up at the beginning. I thought they were doing a good job of getting on base and forcing the issue,” Milone said. “I told myself to settle down and make good pitches, and I felt I was able to.”

Houston loaded the bases in the second inning, but Milone got leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman to hit into a double play to end the threat. He picked off a runner to end another one. And he held Houston to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Only problem: Sometimes hitters guess right about those 88-mile-per-hour fastballs, or the 80-mph changeups. Jose Altuve did, and lined a home run into left field in the first inning. Chris Carter got two straight changeups in the fifth inning, and deposited the second one 10 rows deep.

But for all the baserunners, neither home run came with anyone on base. Milone turned over the game to the bullpen in the seventh inning, tied 2-2.

That’s where it stood in the ninth, when Schafer drew a one-out walk, then stole second base. After a pop-up, Brian Dozier walked, too, bringing up Mauer, who in his first big-league action since July 1 had already walked, doubled high off the wall in left and smashed a line drive that turned into a double play.

“He was pumping it in there pretty good,” Mauer said. “I was just telling myself to stay short and not do too much.”

He didn’t, singling in Schafer and driving Dozier to third, where he watched left fielder Domingo Santana hold the ball, and hold it, and hold it. Finally, Dozier broke for the plate, beating his throw.

“That’s a heads-up play,” Gardenhire said. “It was a great way to win a ballgame.”

 

  • related content

  • Postgame: Mauer remembers last game in Houston

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    Twins will miss Willingham; Schafer now 5-for-5 in steals; Milone impressive in debut

  • Twins trade Willingham to Royals

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    The veteran slugger was swapped for righthanded pitcher Jason Adam, the Royals’ fifth-round draft pick in 2010 who was in Class AAA.

  • Video: Dozier decided "why not" on final run

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    Twins second baseman Brian Dozier says when Astros left fielder Domingo Santana hesitated with the ball, he decided, "why...

  • Video: Milone "amped up" in Twins debut

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    Twins left hander Tommy Milone says he had to tell himself to settle down after taking mound as a...

  • Recap: Twins 4, Houston 2

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    IMPACT PLAYERJoe Mauer, TwinsWelcome back: A walk, a double, and in the ninth inning, the tiebreaking singleBY THE NUMBERS13 Consecutive...

  • Scorecard: Twins 4, Houston 2

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    FIRST INNINGTwins: Danny Santana singled to right off Houston starter Brad Peacock. Brian Dozier doubled to left, Santana ran to...

  • Photo gallery: Twins 4, Houston 2

    Tuesday August 12, 2014

    Mauer, Milone lead Twins to victory in Houston.

  • Joe Mauer connects in the ninth.

  • TWINS 4, houston 2

    Up next: 7:10 tonight at Houston • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close