Some leftovers from another close, tense, and sort-of-strange game at Kauffman Stadium:
— Had to feel for Dusty Coleman. The 28-year-old rookie from Sioux Falls, S.D., made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning Friday, taking over for Salvador Perez at second base as the tying run. He moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt — then made a huge mistake. With the bases loaded, Mike Moustakas hit a medium-depth fly ball to Aaron Hicks in right/center field. Hicks caught it and threw to the plate, but the throw sliced up the first-base line. But Coleman wasn’t certain what to do; he stopped halfway to the plate, allowing Kurt Suzuki to catch him in a rundown and end the inning on an improbable double play. That’s a memory he might be able to laugh about someday, but it’s going to sting for awhile.
— Speaking of that throw, there was an interesting disagreement about it. Hicks believed it was strong enough to get the runner at the plate, even with Suzuki needing to take a step or two toward first base to retrieve it. That how you saw it, Kurt? “He would have made it — the throw was to the first-base side,” the catcher said. “I don’t know why he stopped, because he would have scored.”
— Another guy who hasn’t had much rookie luck: Alex Meyer. His call-up last week excited Twins fans, seeing as how he’s been their top-rated pitching prospect for the past two years. But he never even got to pitch in Target Field. He pitched only twice, gave up runs both times — five overall, in 2 2/3 innings pitched — and was an obvious choice to go back to Rochester when the Twins needed a roster spot for Ervin Santana. Meyer’s mechanics remain iffy; his 6-foot-10 size still makes it difficult for him to throw strikes reliably. But the week with the Twins did him good, Molitor said. “I think it was a good experience for him to see the pace, what goes on here, how the other guys on the staff go about their work,” Molitor said. “He’s got a great attitude.”
He’ll remain in the bullpen at Rochester, Molitor said, or at least that’s the manager’s preference. Meyer was a bit of a disappointment, but it’s not a big surprise for a rookie. The Twins are still looking for a shutdown right-hander in the bullpen, though. Speaking of which: Michael Tonkin, who has yet to stick in Minnesota, struck out eight of the nine hitters he faced tonight for the Red Wings.
— The demotion of Meyer makes it more likely that whoever loses his spot in the rotation will be assigned to the bullpen, at least temporarily. Whether it’s Trevor May or Tommy Milone, the odd-man-out figures to be a long man until Molitor and Terry Ryan figure out what to do with their pitching surplus.
— Tough night for Casey Fien, who deserved better. He gave up the tying run in the eighth inning, but only because Lorenzo Cain hit a ground ball that got through the infield, and then an RBI flare that landed between the shortstop and left fielder. Wasn’t hit hard, but still cost the Twins. “That was tough,” Molitor said, “because Casey had good stuff out there tonight.”
— Another good night for Miguel Sano, who has already impressed his manager with his first two games. Sano singled to score Eddie Rosario in the second inning, then doubled and scored in the fifth. “We got a glimpse. That first base hit was beautiful,” Molitor said. “He’s trying to advance a runner, he stays inside and hits a bullet over there” to right field. “He was a big part of our offense tonight.”