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: Mastroianni steals at will; Blackburn trusts his sinker

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: August 1, 2012 - 12:23 AM

Part of the Twins game plan against old pal Francisco Liriano on Tuesday night was to run, run, run.

When Darin Mastroianni reached on an infield single in the sixth inning, he stole second and third base in a span of two pitches.

“There was one out at the time, and I wanted to get [to third base] as fast as I could to give Joe Mauer a chance to drive me in,” Mastroianni said.

Yes, but this isn’t a video game. Most players can’t expect to go first-to-third in two blinks of an eye. But Mastroianni is the maestro when it comes to swiping bases. He is 11-for-13 (85 percent) in stolen base attempts for the Twins after going 214-for-262 (82 percent) in his minor league career.

“I knew as soon as I got on, I was going to [steal] second and third,” Mastroianni said. “I’ve seen Frankie pitch enough. I knew if I got on, I could run on him. We all knew that. When you play with a guy enough you notice these things.”

BLACKBURN TAKES POSITIVE STEP

Nick Blackburn had his best start of the season, holding the White Sox to two runs on five hits (and one walk) over eight innings.

“It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” said Blackburn, who lowered his ERA to 7.43. “I was finally out there relaxing a little bit and letting the ball move around.”

According to BrooksBaseball.net, 88 of Blackburn’s 106 pitches were two-seam fastballs (sinkers).

“We just had the sinker going, didn’t really have to use too many other pitches,” Blackburn said. “We moved it around and had them guessing the whole night, but mostly on location.”

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