Here are three thoughts following the Twins 7-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday:
NOLASCO SHARP: Hey, a Twins starter has an ERA under 5.00. By giving up just two runs over seven innings on Saturday, Ricky Nolasco now has a 4.91 ERA. The starter everyone wanted out of the rotation at the beginning of the season currently is the only one capable of stringing some zeros together. On Saturday, Nolasco attacked the strike zone will all his pitches the way Phil Hughes used to. Of his 93 pitches, 67 - or 72 percent - were strikes. Paul Molitor let Nolasco work out of a jam to end the seventh and limit the damage to two runs. We all saw what happened when the bullpen entered the game. Molitor, citing the heat, elected to activate the bullpen instead of trying to get more out of Nolasco. ``I understand that pen was taxed and I was trying to go a deep as I could,'' Nolasco said. ``I thought I had a legitimate chance of getting past that seventh.'' It's a tough call. The top of the order was due up in the eighth, and it was a warm day.
BACKUP PLAN: Juan Centeno puts together good at bats, but his catching skills need sharpening. He was charged with a passed ball on Saturday, just the second time this season. But get this: Centeno has had 12 wild pitches on his watch - in 18 games played. That's a lot of runners advancing into scoring position. Someone on twitter wanted to know how Kurt Suzuki's numbers compare. In 44 games, Suzuki has had no passed balls and 17 wild pitches when he's behind the plate. That's a big difference. ``It changes your defense on what you can do,'' Molitor said. ``You have to be able to throw balls in the dirt. Juan has been working hard at it. I think there's been improvement. But a couple got away today.'' FYI, John Ryan Murphy is batting .324 over his last 11 games at Class AAA Rochester.
STREAK ENDS: Joe Mauer's streak of reaching base ended with an 0-for-4 today. He had been on base in the previous 28 games, the longest active streak in baseball. He also struck out three times on Saturday, the first time he's done that all season. Mauer struck out three times in a game just twice all of last season - on May 13 and the final game of the season, Oct. 3.