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.
Three additional notes from Monday's 5-4 victory for the Twins:
* No Twins player had taken a previous major league at-bat against Oakland starter Travis Blackley, but Trevor Plouffe had faced the lefthander in the minors. Blackley had Minnesota baffled until the fifth inning, when Plouffe connected for his fourth home run in nine games. Even though Plouffe is batting just .160, he’s showing he can be a power threat.
* After the bottom two batters in Oakland’s order singled with one out in the seventh inning, Manager Ron Gardenhire pulled Scott Diamond and turned to Jeff Gray. The righthander recorded two quick outs to end the inning before stumbling with two one-out walks in the eighth. Gray leads the pitching staff with 26 walks, but he has stranded 13 of his 17 inherited runners this year.
* I didn’t get a chance to ask Joe Mauer about his nifty slide in the fourth inning, but he saved himself some embarrassment. He singled with one out, but Blackley caught him leaning and had him picked off. First baseman Kila Ka’aihue went to apply the tag, but Mauer pulled back his hand, Ka’aihue appeared to whiff with his glove as Mauer got his hand back to the bag. Four innings later, Mauer stole his third base of the season, showing why Oakland guessed he might be running.
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