Twins Insider Logo

Blog

Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Rosario's day included some thrills -- and spills

    It’s safe to read these three extra notes from Monday’s ugly Twins loss. I promise I won’t mention the bullpen:

    It was a typical high-energy, eventful day for Eddie Rosario, who made a spectacular diving catch in left field, but also committed an error that cost the Twins a run, and failed to catch an entirely catchable bloop fly ball that let two more runs in.

    Rosario couldn’t reach a pop fly behind shortstop by Carlos Beltran in the fourth inning, but he made matters much worse when he decided Beltran had rounded first base too far. He picked up the ball and threw it high over Joe Mauer’s head at first base, sailing it into the camera well. Beltran was awarded third base on the two-base error, and when Ervin Santana threw a slider that bounced past catcher Chris Gimenez, Beltran scored an unearned run on the wild pitch.

    Rosario seemed to redeem himself in the sixth inning, hustling deep into left-center and diving to snag a line drive by Josh Reddick. That play had an unfortunate side, too, though, since Byron Buxton caught his right hand on Rosario’s spikes as he sailed by, and he had to leave the game in the bottom of the inning.

    And in the eighth inning, with the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Rosario came in quickly to chase down Reddick’s bloop fly ball, slid on his knees, and let the ball glance off his glove. The double gave Houston the lead for good.

    At the plate, Rosario was 1-for-4, but was doubled off first base on a Gimenez line drive.

XXX

    Joe Mauer collected two hits on Monday, keeping a particularly impressive stretch of hitting alive: He now has at least one hit in 18 of the 19 games he’s started in May.

    Mauer singled in the fourth and fifth innings, the latter one driving home a run. That ended a stretch of 12 plate appearances in which the veteran first baseman reached base 10 times, on four singles, two doubles, a home run and three walks. Mauer has raised his batting average to .287 — it was .225 entering May — and his on-base percentage to .364, up from .270 to start the month.

XXX

    Jorge Polanco had a couple of notable at-bats on Monday, as he continues to make a positive all-around impression. In the fifth inning, the second-year shortstop fouled off five pitches from Houston starter Brad Peacock before seeing one he liked, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, he ripped an 81-mph slider to the wall in right-center. It was a triple, his first of the season, and drove in a run. He also scored moments later on a passed ball.

    An inning later, Polanco led off the sixth inning by taking two fastballs from reliever Jordan Jankowski, both for strikes. Then Jankowski tried a slider, too, and Polanco smacked the 0-2 pitch into right field for a single.

    Impressed with your teammate’s approach at the plate, Miguel Sano? “Yeah,” Polanco’s fellow Dominican said with a smile. “I teach him.”

Twins add Wheeler, Rucinski to bullpen as Astros arrive for three-game series

    The Twins couldn’t have picked a better day to send Ervin Santana to the mound. The 34-year-old righthander averages seven innings per start, and his team could really use an average-or-better one today, after using all seven relievers in Sunday’s 15-inning marathon.

    “He understands the circumstances,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We’re hoping he goes out there and gives us a nice competitive outing.”

    That said, the Twins seem “fairly energized” this morning, Molitor pointed out, though “we’re going to be fairly limited on who is available in the regular rotation in the bullpen.” Don’t expect to see Tyler Duffey, Brandon Kintzler or Tayler Rogers, for instance, since they’ve pitched two straight days. Matt Belisle threw 30 pitches on Sunday, so he’s iffy, too.

    To ease the stress on the relief corps, the Twins have added Drew Rucinski and Jason Wheeler for today’s game, and don’t be surprised if both of them get into the game. Wheeler, who was drafted by the Twins in 2011 and would be making his major league debut, was scheduled to start today for Class AAA Rochester, so he’s obviously able to go as many innings as the Twins might need. Rucinski, who was here earlier this month, threw 31 pitches on Saturday, but “he’s a guy who seems very resilient,” Molitor said.

    To make room for the two additions, the Twins put Justin Haley back on the 10-day disabled list with what they’re calling shoulder stiffness, and returned Kennys Vargas to Rochester. You don’t often see a team demote its cleanup hitter, but the move had nothing to do with Vargas’ 0-for-8 in Sunday’s loss, Molitor said. It was just a matter of numbers. “He’s one of our few position players who has options,” Molitor said. “We just told him, sometimes the game doesn’t seem fair. But it was the right thing for our team to add pitching today. His job is to try to accept the best [he] can, go down there and have good at-bats, and when we get to that 10-day mark, hopefully he’s back in the mix.”

    The Houston Astros are across the field today, owners of the best record in baseball (35-16) and a four-game winning streak. They have scored the second-most runs in the American League, and have allowed the fewest, so it’s a considerable challenge. They Astros have never beaten Santana in four career starts, a trend the Twins hope continues today.

    Here are the lineups for the Memorial Day matinee at Target Field:

ASTROS

 

Springer CF

Reddick RF

Altuve 2B

Correa SS

Beltran DH

McCann C

Gonzalez 1B

Bregman 3B

Aoki LF

 

Peacock RHP

 

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Grossman DH

Mauer 1B

Sano 3B

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Rosario LF

Gimenez C

Buxton CF

 

Santana RHP

Final, 5/29 R H E
Houston 36-16 16 18 0
Minnesota 26-21 8 11 1