After being penciled into the Minnesota Twins' lineup as a catcher 714 times in his Major League Baseball career, Joe Mauer made a start at another position on Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox, as Ron Gardenhire gave him the start at first base.
If present results are an indicator of future performance, one wonders whether or not the Twins could teach Justin Morneau to catch.
Mauer put together his first three-hit game of the year on Thursday night, driving in two runs as the Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field by a score of 6-2. The Twins' poster boy had a pretty decent night in the field as well, including accounting for all three first inning outs on an unassisted double play on a line drive by Omar Vizquel, and a groundout by Adam Dunn.
The Twins got on the board early, as Ben Revere reached on an infield single and stole second base to start the game. After Alexi Casilla's ground out moved Revere to third, Mauer singled to center to bring Revere home and give the Twins a quick 1-0 lead. They picked up a couple more in the second when Danny Valencia led off the inning with a double and scored on a base hit by Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka then stole second and came in to score on Revere's RBI single to make the score 3-0.
Minnesota did some more damage in the top of the fourth, as Nishioka and Drew Butera collected back-to-back singles with one out. Revere then singled again to bring Nishioka around to score and make the Minnesota lead 4-0. After Casilla struck out, Mauer laced a single to right. Butera came around to score and, thanks to White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko's inability to field the throw from the outfield, Revere came in to score as well to make the score 6-0.
That was more than enough for Carl Pavano (6-6, 4.10 ERA), who pitched seven strong innings for the Twins on the evening. Pavano made one mistake in the bottom of the fifth, as he allowed Mark Teahen to hit a two-run home run to cut the score to 6-2, but neither team scored the rest of the way. Glen Perkins pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, and Matt Capps threw a perfect ninth to close things out.
For the Sox, former Twin Philip Humber (8-5, 3.10 ERA) took the loss. Humber failed to make it out of the fourth inning, allowing all six runs on eleven hits in just 3.2 innings of work. Hector Santiago and Brian Bruney combined for 5.1 innings of two-hit ball in relief of Humber for the White Sox.
The Minnesota victory was their fifth over the White Sox this season, and their thirteenth in their last fifteen match-ups against Chicago. Because of the Cleveland Indians' 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, the Twins remain eight games back in the American League Central.
The same two teams will get together again on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The Twins will give the ball to Nick Blackburn (6-6, 4.02 ERA), while the White Sox will turn to right-hander Gavin Floyd (6-8, 4.17 ERA).