CLEVELAND -- The Twins turned to left-hander Randy Flores on Saturday night in a left-handed specialist situation, and the club had two more options going into Sunday's finale.Manager Ron Gardenhire used both Jose Mijares and Brian Fuentes in Sunday's 6-2 win. Mijares pitched a scoreless one-third of an inning, while Fuentes hurled a perfect ninth. Mijares had been activated from the disabled list on Saturday, but Gardenhire said that he chose not to use him after Mijares had thrown 35 pitches in a simulated game on Friday. "He said he was fine, but we thought about it and just didn't feel comfortable," Gardenhire said. "One of those where it just wasn't right." So instead, the Twins turned to Flores, who gave up two straight hits to lefties to start the 11th inning on Saturday. Gardenhire said that he talked with the reliever on Sunday morning. The focus of the talk was to get Flores to realize that he has to throw breaking pitches to left-handed hitters, not just fastballs like the lefty did in his outing against the Indians. "I talked to him already this morning and said if I want fastballs to left-handers, I'll leave a right-hander in," Gardenhire said. "I told him that if you come in, you have to throw breaking balls. That's why I bring a left-hander to face a left-hander. I understand knocking a hitter off with a fastball, but you have to spin the ball. He threw all fastballs, every pitch. We talked about it and I explained to him just that." Twins catcher Joe Mauer was calling for breaking balls but Flores was shaking him off. Flores told Gardenhire that he had been giving up hits off his breaking balls lately. "He said, 'They've been hitting my breaking balls, so I'm going to locate my fastball,'" Gardenhire said. "But that's really over-thinking there. He wants to do the job and he really wants to be a part of it. But you can't over-think these things."
Twins thriving in one-run games
CLEVELAND -- The Twins have seen their share of close games recently, with 10 of their last 13 contests entering Sunday having been decided by one run, including Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Indians in 12 innings.Over that stretch, the Twins have gone 8-2 in those one-run games. And on the season, the club is 30-21 in games decided by a run. "All these close games, you have to find ways to win," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's about executing and making plays. That's why our record is really good in one-run games, because we've executed pretty good and are getting it done." Gardenhire used Saturday night's game as an example of the Twins' execution when the club worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the 11th inning. Right-hander Matt Guerrier took over with runners on first and second. After using a dive play by shortstop J.J. Hardy that mimicked a pickoff to freeze the runner at second base, Guerrier had enough time to field Jayson Nix's bunt back to the mound and throw to third base for the first out. "They had first and second with no outs -- that's finding a way to win," Gardenhire said. "We made a great bunt play, get the guy out and Matty makes two more good pitches and gets two more huge outs so we're out of the inning. That's figuring out a way when you probably really don't deserve it. That's finding a way to win." At a time when the Twins are in the midst of trying to capture their sixth American League Central title in the last nine seasons, can this type of success in one-run games be a confidence boost to the team? "This is the time of year when you have to do it," Gardenhire said. "You get all these close games, and especially when you're getting shut down by pitching, we've got to do that. ... Last night, we held on, made pitches when we had to and made plays when we had to. That's how you win your division and get in the playoffs is by one-run games, wining the close ones and finding a way to win. We've been doing a really good job of that. It says a lot, because we've played so many of them."
Twins don't have a timetable for Baker
CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Scott Baker has not pitched since suffering a return of the tendinitis in his right elbow on Sept. 2 and receiving a cortisone shot in his elbow. But while Baker has been playing catch, there is currently no specific timetable or plan for his return.Baker played catch on Saturday with no problems, and manager Ron Gardenhire said that Baker will likely play catch again in a couple days before throwing a possible bullpen session. As for where the Twins plan to slot Baker when he's ready to return, Gardenhire said that hasn't been decided. The Twins have been watchful of Kevin Slowey's arm after he spent 15 days on the disabled list with a strained right triceps muscle and had a stint of elbow tendinitis in August. So Baker's role could depend on the health of others. "We'll figure out how we are going to use him -- whether it's out of the bullpen, a spot start or whatever," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how everything goes here."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were three 1-0 games in the Major Leagues on Saturday, and in all three of them, the only run was scored on a home run. It's the first time in Major League history that there were three such games on the same day. ... Last night's game marked the longest scoreless game in the history of Progressive Field after 11 innings. The longest had previously been nine innings in a game between the Indians and Blue Jays on May 12, 2008.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.