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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Mauer returns to Twins' lineup after 3-game absence

    TORONTO — Joe Mauer’s legs are still sore, but three days of idling is enough, he decided.

    “He’s doing better,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of his most experienced player. “I don’t think it’s completely disappeared, some of the symptoms he’s dealing with. But he’s at the point where he just wants to play.”

    Good enough for Molitor, though he’s wary of the playing surface in Rogers Centre. But Mauer is in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, batting second, with Max Kepler moving into the third slot and Trevor Plouffe, who homered on Friday, bats fourth.

    Ervin Santana is on the mound for the Twins, who desperately need a strong performance from their ace. Santana hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start since July 15, so this is the best chance the Twins have to snap that eight-game losing streak.

    Here are the lineups for today’s game before what’s expected to be a packed house:

TWINS    

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Kepler RF

Plouffe 3B

Rosario CF

Sano DH

Escobar SS

Centeno C

Santana LF

 

Santana RHP

 

BLUE JAYS

 

Bautista DH

Donaldson 3B

Encarnacion 1B

Tulowitzki SS

Saunders RF

Pillar CF

Upton LF

Travis 2B

Thole C

 

Stroman RHP

Postgame: Twins took advantage of Liriano's control while they could

    TORONTO — A couple of extras after the Twins reached eight consecutive losses for the third time this season:

    The Twins had a plan for facing Francisco Liriano, and it worked pretty well. The strategy: Try to stay off the slider and let Liriano’s frequent problems with command work against him.

    Sure enough, Liriano walked four batters, and the Twins drove three of them home. But the lefthander, dealt away by the Twins four years ago, struck out seven and managed to limit the damage by giving up only two hits over his short five-inning start. One of them was a fastball that Liriano's former teammate, Trevor Plouffe, crushed over the center field fense, his first home run since July 1. The other was a double to the wall in left-center by Kurt Suzuki, which drove in two runs.

    Still, the Jays scored 15 runs behind him, and Liriano earned his seventh win of the season.

XXX

    Ervin Santana gets the start on Saturday, which is good news for the Twins, considering he owns a 1.72 ERA over his last 10 starts. On the other hand, Santana hasn’t beaten Toronto since 2011, going 0-4 since then.

    “I don’t think Ervin is going to change what he does,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “A young guy like Pat [Dean], without a lot of experience coming in here, it’s hard to be the same guy. Ervin doesn’t seem to change, environment to environment, team to team. He knows these guys, he’s faced them. They’ve got a nice environment going here, but hopefully he can hold it down and we can have another good offensive day.”

Final, 8/27 R H E
Minnesota 49-80 7 11 1
Toronto 73-56 8 10 0