MINNEAPOLIS -- First baseman Justin Morneau came in with flu-like symptoms on Saturday morning and was held out of the lineup against the Mariners. Chris Colabello got the start at first base in his absence, and went 1-for-4 in a 5-4 walk-off win over the Mariners.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's not sure how long Morneau will be out, as he was resting in the training room before the game and didn't feel sick until Saturday morning.
"Morneau is sick," Gardenhire said. "He came in with the flu. I'm not sure what it is. He's just back in the trainer's room. The trainers came in and said he's sick. So he's out."
With Morneau out, Colabello made his first career big league start at first base. It marked the third career start for Colabello, who also has started in right field and as designated hitter.
Gardenhire said he considered starting Chris Herrmann behind the plate with Chris Parmelee at first base and Ryan Doumit in right field, but he wanted Doumit to catch Kevin Correia. So Colabello started at first with Parmelee in right field and Doumit behind the plate.
"I was weighing my options between Colabello and maybe Herrmann catching, but Doumit had come over with Correia [from the Pirates] and caught him over there," Gardenhire said. "So I went with the veteran catcher. It was a tough decision. But I'd like to see Colabello swing. He's been swinging the bat well in BP."
Mauer moves up one spot in the batting order
MINNEAPOLIS -- After five days batting in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, Joe Mauer moved up to second, a role he's served the better part of the season. He went 1-for-3 with two walks and a run in Saturday's 5-4 walk-off win over Seattle.
Mauer was initially moved back in the order on Monday for Interleague Play, when the Twins played in Milwaukee. Manager Ron Gardenhire noted the move was made so as not to overload the bottom of lineup with singles hitters, and as an attempt to stretch lineup.
Gardenhire also left Mauer third in the lineup in the series opener against the Mariners on Friday, as the Twins were on a four-game win streak, which was snapped with a 3-0 loss.
"I kind of like Mauer in that two hole," Gardenhire said. "I've enjoyed that part of it. I think he comes up with some chances, with RBIs and stuff, and that's kind of what I'm looking for.
"It seems like the lineup keeps rolling over. [Second baseman Brian] Dozier's coming up in a lot of situations with RBIs out there, and I kind of want Mauer in that situation."
Hitting in the two hole for most of the season, Mauer hit .339 entering Saturday before moving back a spot, where he hit .263 over those five games.
With a quick turnaround after a night game on Friday, Mauer will also serve as the designated hitter in order to get some rest.
"Day game [after a] night game, I like to give him a DH role to stay off his legs as best we can," Gardenhire said.
His replacement behind the plate, Ryan Doumit, delivered the game-winning two-run triple.
Hometown kid Thielbar earns first career win
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar, a Randolph, Minn. native, won his first career game on Saturday by pitching a scoreless ninth inning before Ryan Doumit's walk-off two-run triple in the bottom of the inning gave the Twins a 5-4 win.
On Friday, Thielbar pitched in front of his home crowd for the first time, and tossed a scoreless ninth against the Mariners.
It was a special moment for Thielbar, who was able to shake off the jitters of pitching at Target Field and tossed a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in front of a large group of family and friends.
"It was cool," said Thielbar, who went to Randolph High School and played collegiately at South Dakota State. "I had a lot of people there that I knew. So it was just a fun time. I heard a little too much crowd noise so I need to work on that, but overall it was just a fun experience. But I'm glad to get it over with."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was happy for Thielbar, and has been impressed by the reliever so far. The lefty has yet to give up an earned run -- although he allowed three inherited runs to score in his previous outing against the Tigers on Sunday -- with nine strikeouts and two walks over 7 1/3 innings.
"It was nice to get him in a ballgame here," Gardenhire said. "It was fun to let him get back out there. He hadn't been out there in a few days."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.