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: "Got to take a shot" by sending runners

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: June 27, 2013 - 11:58 PM

As I got into the elevator after the Twins' game, I stood next to 6-foot-9 Alex Meyer and 6-10 Aaron Slegers, and I couldn't help but think the Timberwolves might want to come next door to do a little scouting. The Twins are putting together a pretty impressive basketball team. Anyway, a couple of other notes from the Twins' fourth straight home win Thursday:

-- Josh Willingham was thrown out at the plate by a couple of feet in the sixth inning, but the decision to send him home was absolutely the right one, manager Ron Gardenhire said. The Twins' lead was just 2-1 at the time, and both pitchers were shutting down the opposing lineup. There were two outs, and though Willingham, not a fast runner, had to race home from first base on Morneau's second double of the night, it would take two accurate throws to get him.

That the Royals executed both throws -- David Lough to Elliot Johnson to Salvador Perez -- doesn't change the calculation.

"We've got to send him there. The way the game's going, we've got to take a shot," Gardenhire said. "They just made two nice throws, made a really nice play. But I'd have been disappointed if Joe [Vavra, the third-base coach] hadn't sent him there."

-- Morneau guessed that forcing Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie to pitch from the stretch, rather than use a full windup, affected his rhythm in the fourth inning, which explains the Twins' four hits and two runs.

-- Morneau had a busy night at first base, considering three of the first four Royals hit the ball feebly to the right side of the diamond. "I came in [after] the first inning, and Gardy said, 'What's their game plan, hit it to first?' " Morneau said said with a laugh.

All the weak grounders were a tribute to Samuel Deduno's movement on the ball, he said. "He's got so much late movement, it's kind of hard. It looks like it's going to be there, then it kind of darts late. You saw some guys mishit some balls," Morneau said.

Gardenhire said Deduno was going to pitch the eighth inning, too, since he'd thrown just 87 pitches. But the Twins' bottom of the seventh dragged on, and when the Royals changed pitches, Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson feared he would stiffen up and walk the leadoff hitter. Better to go to a warmed-up bullpen, they decided.

-- Guthrie lost in Target Field for the first time in three starts here in his career, while Deduno improved to 3-0 here this season, and 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 10 starts during his career.

-- Tonight's game lasted only 2:29, the fastest game of the season. I'm not complaining, but remember when that was about normal for an average game?

-- Before the game, I was talking about hitting streaks (and Michael Cuddyer's 24-game streak, longest in Colorado Rockies history) with Joe Mauer, and I pointed out that he had an eight-game streak going at the moment. "Thanks for telling me," he joked, pretending to be superstitious about such things. Naturally, he went 0-for-4 tonight. Hope he doesn't hold a grudge.
 

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