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.
It looked like a real blunder tonight when, with two runners moving on a 3-2 pitch, Mike Pelfrey fielded Jonny Gomes' chopper to the mound and threw the ball to second base. The throw was too late, and Gomes beat Pedro Florimon's relay to first.
It was a blunder, Ron Gardenhire said. But it was a teachable moment, too.
The botched play was a potentially costly mistake, Gardenhire said, but the blame wasn't all Pelfrey's. And he made that clear to his team once the inning ended.
"My infielders, I took them [aside] in the dugout and told them all: They've got to be yelling, 'First base! First base!' " Gardenhire said. "No one said a word."
Pelfrey got out of the bases-loaded situation with a called strike three to Daniel Nava and a fly to right by Will Middlebrooks, but it could have been much worse.
"I should have been thinking, they're probably running 3-2," Pelfrey said. "I didn't have time. That's on me. I kind of saw him and rushed [the throw]. I'm just lucky Florimon didn't get hurt."
Gardenhire agreed that Pelfrey should have known better than to try to turn a double play, but "he's catching it on the fly, he's turning, he's winging it," the manager said. "It's hard for him to tell whether the runner is going. So if they're yelling as soon as it's hit, then [Pelfrey] probably doesn't throw the ball. So we can do better on both ends -- he's got to know to get an out, and everybody's got to be screaming, 'First base!' "
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