The Twins on Tuesday pushed forward with their campaign to get Brian Dozier elected to the final spot on the American League team that will play in the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday in Cincinnati.
A bulldozer has been parked not far from Gate 29, as the Twins are pushing the slogan, ''No Bull. Vote Dozier'' this week.
Twins players took the field before the game wearing white T-shirts with the slogan and a silhouette of a bulldozer on them.
Dozier is tied for the major league lead with 63 runs scored, leads the AL with 46 extra-base hits, is in the top 10 in total bases and slugging percentage and leads all second baseman with 17 home runs -- by a wide margin.
The challenge for the Twins today, if they choose to accept it, is to win two consecutive games. That's something they last did on June 18-19. Since then, they are 7-9 as they search for the form that helped them go 20-7 in May. They will try so without Torii Hunter in the starting lineup. Hunter is getting the veteran's treatment today because manager Paul Molitor wants to him as fresh as possible.
"I'm kind of ahead of schedule in terms of how much I've run him out there,'' Molitor said. "He's played well. He says he's fresh. I gotta be a little careful because I want to make sure we see those same swings in September that we are seeing now. And hopefully October.''
The altered lineup includes rookie Miguel Sano in the cleanup spot for the first time. And Sano came through in a big way in the first inning, hitting a two-run homer to left-center to boost the Twins' lead to 3-0. The homer, estimated at 396 feet, was Sano's first in the majors.
Sano has not looked overmatched at the plate. On Monday, he saw 22 pitches over four plate appearances. "I told him, 'You've come a long way since the last time I saw you,' '' first baseman Joe Mauer said.
Molitor said before the game he's not sure if he will stick with Sano as the cleanup hitter. The decision on Tuesday was influenced by the decision to bench Hunter. Sano, however, could start at third base on Wednesday. It would be his debut as a defensive player,
Molitor said Sano has the hands to play third but has to learn the nuances of playing the position.
Ryan O'Rourke will be used mostly in lefty-on-lefty situations, Molitor said. And Brian Duensing, in the middle of an eight-inning scoreless run, will match up with lefties later in games.
Manny Machado, 3B
Jimmy Paredes, DH
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, RF
Matt Wieters, C
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Travis Snider, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Ryan Flaherty, 2B
Kevin Gausman, RHP
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Miguel Sano, DH
Eddie Rosario, RF
Eduardo Escobar, LF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Danny Santana, SS
Kyle Gibson, RHP