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Little ball wasn't Gardenhire's idea but pays off big

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Little ball wasn't Gardenhire's idea but pays off big · Roster Report

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't seem terribly thrilled that shortstop Matt Tolbert opted to bunt on his own in two of his trips to the plate on Wednesday, but both of Tolbert's decisions ended up paying off, and so Gardenhire couldn't complain.

Tolbert bunted in the first inning of Minnesota's 3-2 victory over Chicago, sacrificing himself to move leadoff hitter Denard Span up to second base. Span later scored.

Sacrificing so early in the game is not something Gardenhire ever asks, or perhaps wants his players to do.

However, scoring runs in any fashion is precious these days for the Twins, a team that has scored more than five runs only once this season and scored three or fewer in 20 of their 29 games.

In the sixth, Tolbert bunted again, this time for a hit, again moving Span to second. Both runners moved up on Justin Morneau's fly ball and each wound up scoring.

"Those are on his own," Gardenhire said of Tolbert's decisions to bunt. "I'm looking for hit and runs, and they're dropping drag bunts down. I don't care, whatever happens right now, if it works, it works and you get runs that way and that's fine with me."

Tolbert is batting .180 with a .196 on-base percentage and a .260 slugging percentage in 50 at-bats. He played his last two games at shortstop after Gardenhire determined Alexi Casilla was putting too much pressure on himself at shortstop and was moved to second base.

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2016 Team Leaders
AVGBrian Dozier , 2B.268
HRBrian Dozier , 2B42
RBIBrian Dozier , 2B99
OBPJoe Mauer , 1B.363
SLGBrian Dozier , 2B.546
RBrian Dozier , 2B104
SBBrian Dozier , 2B18
WHector Santiago , SP13
ERAErvin Santana , SP3.38
WHIPErvin Santana , SP1.22
KErvin Santana , SP149
SVBrandon Kintzler , RP17

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