Note to Twins gameday operations: Brandon Kintzler’s preferred walk-up music is “Lose Yourself’’ by Eminem.
And you might want to check with Fernando Abad about his favorite tune.
The Twins have changed their late-inning relief lineup, and it was on display Wednesday night at Target Field in their 7-5 victory over the Miami Marlins as Kintzler gave up a hit but notched the first save in 187 major league games.
“I was mentally ready,” said Kintzler, who has a 2.30 ERA in 15 games since being called up from Class AAA Rochester. “You don’t ever want to be caught off-guard.”
After the game, Twins manager Paul Molitor said Kintzler, a righthander, and Abad, a lefthander, will share closing duties — likely dictated by matchups — for the time being. It’s designed to get struggling righthander Kevin Jepsen out of the closer’s role while he tries to find his form.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle for him trying to find rhythm and clean innings,” Molitor said. “So we talked about getting him into a little different situation in the short term and see how it goes.”
The staff has been aware of the decision for a couple of days, but the plan wasn’t implemented until Wednesday, when the Twins blew a 4-0 lead but came back to win.
Ricky Nolasco was solid through four innings but gave up four runs in the fifth, including a two-run single to Giancarlo Stanton that tied the score.
Nolasco got the first two outs of the sixth inning but was pulled after back-to-back singles by Miguel Rojas and Ichiro Suzuki. Michael Tonkin entered the game but gave up an RBI single to Martin Prado as the Marlins took a 5-4 lead.
Nolasco, facing his former team for the first time, threw 48 pitches during the fifth and sixth. Over 5 ⅔ innings, he gave up five runs on 11 hits, the most hits off him in a game since Aug. 31, 2014.
“I was making some good pitches,” Nolasco said. “They are a good offensive team. They fought through some good at-bats, placed some balls in some good sports and extended the inning.”
But Byung Ho Park homered in the sixth to tie the score 5-5. Trevor Plouffe, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning, hammered a double to right-center, scoring Joe Mauer with the go-ahead run. Brian Dozier followed with an RBI single, and the Twins led 7-5. Plouffe was 2-for-4 with three RBI. His home run was his first in 83 plate appearances dating to May 10. Dozier was 3-for-4 and is 7-for-19 over his past four games.
That set up the ninth inning, when Kintzler took the mound and Abad began warming up. Kintzler got Prado to ground out to second and Christian Yelich to hit a one-hop smash to Plouffe for the second out. Marcell Ozuna followed with a single to right-center, bringing up Stanton. If he got on, Abad was coming in.
But Kintzler got a fastball by the struggling Stanton to end the game. Lefthander Taylor Rogers got the win in relief, and the ball from the final out was sitting in Kintzler’s clubhouse stall after the game. The Twins can sweep the three-game series with a win on Thursday.
“I tried to downplay it and act like it was the same,” Kintzler said of taking the mound in the ninth. “Obviously, it isn’t.’’