Mauer doubles, catches in emotional likely finale with Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Joe Mauer isn't sure if Sunday marked the end of his time with the Minnesota Twins. Just in case, though, the regular season finale turned into a farewell befitting his remarkable career with his hometown team.

Mauer doubled in his final at-bat, received one more pitch as catcher, and then walked off to an extended ovation as Minnesota likely said goodbye to the longtime face of its franchise during an emotional 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The 35-year-old Mauer was playing the final game of an eight-year, $184 million contract. So far, he's been noncommittal regarding his plans for next year and beyond.

''It's been an emotional rollercoaster. I'm not 100 percent sure,'' he said. ''I want to make sure I have some time just to take a deep breath and really be behind that decision.''

There certainly were plenty of touches that made Sunday's game feel like a final appearance, none more dramatic than Mauer's surprise appearance behind the plate in the ninth.

Mauer emerged from the dugout in his catching gear, the first time he'd worn it since late 2013, when a series of concussions forced him to move to first base. He stood alone at home plate as fans, teammates and opponents showered him with applause.

The 2009 AL MVP caught one pitch from Matt Belisle. Then, with the theme music from ''The Natural'' playing over the speakers, he walked off to a final standing ovation and was replaced by Chris Gimenez.

''We had an opportunity to do that, and I didn't think that was going to be a possibility ever,'' Mauer said. ''I'm glad I took that opportunity.''

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he'd worked out the logistics of the moment with White Sox manager Rick Renteria before the game.

''Rick was fantastic. I told him I didn't want to disrespect the game or the integrity of winning or losing,'' Molitor said. ''(I said) it would be a one-pitch scenario and we assured him that we would try to throw a ball as best as we could. And it worked out.''

White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada was the batter at the time and said he was more than happy to do his part.

''When I went to home plate, he said, `Hey, can you take the first pitch?''' Moncada said. ''It was very exciting, and an emotional moment. I was just glad to be part of that.''

Mauer is a three-time AL batting champ and six-time All-Star over 15 major league seasons, all with Minnesota. A three-sport star from St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Mauer was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft and made his debut with the Twins in 2004.

Even his final plate appearance was classic Mauer. He sent a line drive into the left-center gap off Juan Minaya, then hustled to second, sliding in just ahead of left fielder Nicky Delmonico's throw.

When asked if he thought about playing it safe to avoid getting thrown out in potentially his last at-bat, Mauer shrugged and said, ''That's just how I play the game. I saw that (Delmonico) was moving a little to his left, and in a one-run game I'm going to try to get into scoring position. You've got to keep playing the game.''

Max Kepler and Jake Cave homered for the Twins, and reliever Andrew Vasquez (1-0) earned his first major league victory with one perfect inning of relief. Trevor May replaced Belisle and got three straight outs with the tying run on second in the ninth to earn his third save.

Dylan Covey (5-14) gave up five runs over six innings.

MAUER MOMENTS

The day was filled with memorable moments for Mauer, who started at first base and batted leadoff. For Sunday home games, each Twins player is joined at his position by a young fan for the national anthem. On Sunday, Mauer's 5-year-old twin daughters, Emily and Maren, surprised him by running out to meet him at first base.

''I thought I had it going pretty good, holding it together, and then my two girls ran out on the field and I lost it there for a moment.

The crowd of 30,144 gave Mauer an extended standing ovation before his first at-bat. He then shook hands with umpire Jim Reynolds and White Sox catcher Wellington Castillo before facing Covey.

BY THE NUMBERS

If Mauer retires after this season, he will finish second in Twins history in games played, third in runs scored, second in hits, first in doubles, and second in walks. He broke the Twins' career record for times on base earlier in the homestand.

UNHAPPY ENDINGS

The White Sox lost their 100th game of the year, the first time they've done so since 1970.

''As far as the numbers, they are what they are,'' Renteria said. ''I think I have to reflect on how we got to that point and some of the things we have to do to correct it, and move on.''

Meanwhile, the Twins won their sixth straight game to end the season, giving them 78 victories - seven fewer than last year, when they were the AL's second wild card.

But Molitor clearly feels bullish about the team's chances to return to the playoffs in 2019. When asked if the organization would give Mauer another memorable departure if he returned to play next year, the Twins manager replied, ''Next year at this time, we'll be planning for our next game, so I don't think the situation will be the same.''

WHIFF WATCH

Moncada struck out once, giving him a major league-leading 217. That's just six behind the record of 223, set by Mark Reynolds of the Rockies in 2009.

IN THE STANDS

The Twins announced an official home attendance of 1,959,197, which included two ''home'' games played in Puerto Rico in April. That total is their lowest since 2004, when they still played at the Metrodome.

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123456789RHE
CHW62-100
200000200470
MIN78-84
00030200X570
  • W: A. Vasquez (1-0)L: D. Covey (5-14)S: T. May (3)
  • HR: MIN - M. Kepler (20), J. Cave (13)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
Y. Sanchez 3B41010122.242.306.372.6782.0
L. Garcia SS40000022.271.303.376.679-1.0
D. Palka RF41200021.240.294.484.7783.0
A. Garcia DH40110011.236.281.438.7191.5
M. Davidson 1B30010020.228.319.419.7380.0
N. Delmonico LF40100021.215.296.373.6690.0
W. Castillo C31100021.259.304.406.7102.0
Y. Moncada 2B21100210.235.315.400.7144.5
R. Cordell CF40110013.108.125.216.3412.5
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    J. Mauer 1B-C40100001.282.351.379.7292.0
    C. Gimenez C00000000.211.288.333.6210.0
    J. Polanco SS30000111.288.345.427.7732.5
    J. Cave CF41111012.269.316.481.7975.5
    R. Grossman LF31000100.273.367.384.7512.0
    M. Garver DH41100011.268.335.414.7491.5
    M. Kepler RF42221000.224.319.408.72710.0
    L. Forsythe 2B30120000.232.313.291.6043.0
    W. Astudillo 3B30100001.355.371.516.8871.0
    J. Graterol C30000001.250.333.250.5830.0
    T. Austin 1B00000000.230.287.480.7670.0
      BATTING
      • 2B - D. Palka (15), Y. Moncada (32), R. Cordell
      • SF - M. Davidson (3)
      • SH - L. Garcia (4)
      • RBI - Y. Sanchez (55), A. Garcia (49), M. Davidson (62), R. Cordell (4)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - L. Garcia, D. Palka, A. Garcia, N. Delmonico, W. Castillo, R. Cordell 2 (2)
      BATTING
      • 2B - J. Mauer (27), M. Kepler (30)
      • HR - J. Cave (13), M. Kepler (20)
      • RBI - J. Cave (45), M. Kepler 2 (58), L. Forsythe 2 (27)
      • 2-Out RBI - L. Forsythe 2 (4)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Mauer, J. Cave 2 (2), W. Astudillo
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - J. Polanco (7)
      FIELDING
      • PB - W. Castillo (5)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      D. Covey (L, 5-14)6.06552325.181.491.5
      J. Minaya0.21000003.281.46-1.0
      J. Fry0.10000004.381.110.0
      N. Jones1.00000003.001.433.0
      PITCHERSIP
      D. Covey (L, 5-14)6.0
      J. Minaya0.2
      J. Fry0.1
      N. Jones1.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      Z. Littell4.03222406.201.777.0
      A. Vasquez (W, 1-0)1.00000305.401.4011.5
      M. Magill (H, 6)1.00000203.811.434.0
      T. Hildenberger0.02221005.421.38-5.0
      T. Rogers (H, 18)1.00000102.630.953.5
      O. Drake (H, 1)1.01000305.291.453.5
      M. Belisle0.01000007.861.75-1.0
      T. May (S, 3)1.00000203.201.0311.0
      PITCHERSIP
      Z. Littell4.0
      A. Vasquez (W, 1-0)1.0
      M. Magill (H, 6)1.0
      T. Hildenberger0.0
      T. Rogers (H, 18)1.0
      O. Drake (H, 1)1.0
      M. Belisle0.0
      T. May (S, 3)1.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - D. Covey 94-62, J. Minaya 12-8, J. Fry 4-3, N. Jones 9-8
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Covey 11-4, J. Fry 1-0, N. Jones 1-2
      • Batters Faced - D. Covey 26, J. Minaya 3, J. Fry, N. Jones 3
      PITCHING
      • WP - O. Drake (5)
      • HBP - Z. Littell (4)
      • Pitches-Strikes - Z. Littell 70-49, A. Vasquez 14-11, M. Magill 15-9, T. Hildenberger 11-6, T. Rogers 10-6, O. Drake 16-10, M. Belisle 3-2, T. May 13-9
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Z. Littell 3-5, T. Rogers 1-1
      • Batters Faced - Z. Littell 18, A. Vasquez 3, M. Magill 3, T. Hildenberger 3, T. Rogers 3, O. Drake 4, M. Belisle, T. May 3
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      CHW62-100
      200000200470
      MIN78-84
      00030200X570
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      Y. Sanchez 3B41010122.242.306.372.6782.0
      L. Garcia SS40000022.271.303.376.679-1.0
      D. Palka RF41200021.240.294.484.7783.0
      A. Garcia DH40110011.236.281.438.7191.5
      M. Davidson 1B30010020.228.319.419.7380.0
      N. Delmonico LF40100021.215.296.373.6690.0
      W. Castillo C31100021.259.304.406.7102.0
      Y. Moncada 2B21100210.235.315.400.7144.5
      R. Cordell CF40110013.108.125.216.3412.5
      Total32474031511-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        J. Mauer 1B-C40100001.282.351.379.7292.0
        C. Gimenez C00000000.211.288.333.6210.0
        J. Polanco SS30000111.288.345.427.7732.5
        J. Cave CF41111012.269.316.481.7975.5
        R. Grossman LF31000100.273.367.384.7512.0
        M. Garver DH41100011.268.335.414.7491.5
        M. Kepler RF42221000.224.319.408.72710.0
        L. Forsythe 2B30120000.232.313.291.6043.0
        W. Astudillo 3B30100001.355.371.516.8871.0
        J. Graterol C30000001.250.333.250.5830.0
        T. Austin 1B00000000.230.287.480.7670.0
        Total315752237-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - D. Palka (15), Y. Moncada (32), R. Cordell
          • SF - M. Davidson (3)
          • SH - L. Garcia (4)
          • RBI - Y. Sanchez (55), A. Garcia (49), M. Davidson (62), R. Cordell (4)
          • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - L. Garcia, D. Palka, A. Garcia, N. Delmonico, W. Castillo, R. Cordell 2 (2)
          BATTING
          • 2B - J. Mauer (27), M. Kepler (30)
          • HR - J. Cave (13), M. Kepler (20)
          • RBI - J. Cave (45), M. Kepler 2 (58), L. Forsythe 2 (27)
          • 2-Out RBI - L. Forsythe 2 (4)
          • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Mauer, J. Cave 2 (2), W. Astudillo
          BASERUNNING
          • SB - J. Polanco (7)
          FIELDING
          • PB - W. Castillo (5)
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          D. Covey (L, 5-14)6.06552325.181.491.5
          J. Minaya0.21000003.281.46-1.0
          J. Fry0.10000004.381.110.0
          N. Jones1.00000003.001.433.0
          Total8.0755232---
          PITCHERSIP
          D. Covey (L, 5-14)6.0
          J. Minaya0.2
          J. Fry0.1
          N. Jones1.0
          Total8.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          Z. Littell4.03222406.201.777.0
          A. Vasquez (W, 1-0)1.00000305.401.4011.5
          M. Magill (H, 6)1.00000203.811.434.0
          T. Hildenberger0.02221005.421.38-5.0
          T. Rogers (H, 18)1.00000102.630.953.5
          O. Drake (H, 1)1.01000305.291.453.5
          M. Belisle0.01000007.861.75-1.0
          T. May (S, 3)1.00000203.201.0311.0
          Total9.07443150---
          PITCHERSIP
          Z. Littell4.0
          A. Vasquez (W, 1-0)1.0
          M. Magill (H, 6)1.0
          T. Hildenberger0.0
          T. Rogers (H, 18)1.0
          O. Drake (H, 1)1.0
          M. Belisle0.0
          T. May (S, 3)1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - D. Covey 94-62, J. Minaya 12-8, J. Fry 4-3, N. Jones 9-8
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Covey 11-4, J. Fry 1-0, N. Jones 1-2
          • Batters Faced - D. Covey 26, J. Minaya 3, J. Fry, N. Jones 3
          PITCHING
          • WP - O. Drake (5)
          • HBP - Z. Littell (4)
          • Pitches-Strikes - Z. Littell 70-49, A. Vasquez 14-11, M. Magill 15-9, T. Hildenberger 11-6, T. Rogers 10-6, O. Drake 16-10, M. Belisle 3-2, T. May 13-9
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Z. Littell 3-5, T. Rogers 1-1
          • Batters Faced - Z. Littell 18, A. Vasquez 3, M. Magill 3, T. Hildenberger 3, T. Rogers 3, O. Drake 4, M. Belisle, T. May 3
          • 7TH INNING
            Sanchez grounded out to shortstop, Moncada scored45
            Cordell doubled to left center, Castillo scored, Moncada to third35
          • 6TH INNING
            Kepler homered to right, Garver scored25
          • 4TH INNING
            Forsythe singled to center, Grossman and Kepler scored23
            Cave homered to center21
          • 1ST INNING
            Davidson hit sacrifice fly to center, Palka scored20
            Garcia singled to center, Sanchez scored, Palka to third10
          • 9TH INNING
            • Matt Belisle relieved Oliver Drake
            • Tyler Austin at first base
            • Y. Moncada: Ball
            • Moncada doubled to deep left
            • Trevor May relieved Matt Belisle
            • R. Cordell: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Cordell struck out swinging
            • Y. Sanchez: Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Sanchez struck out swinging
            • L. Garcia: Strike looking, Foul, Garcia flied out to deep right
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • Oliver Drake relieved Taylor Rogers
            • A. Garcia: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Garcia struck out swinging
            • M. Davidson: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Davidson struck out swinging
            • N. Delmonico: Delmonico singled to left center
            • W. Castillo: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Delmonico to second on wild pitch, Ball, Strike swinging, Castillo struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • Nate Jones relieved Jace Fry
            • R. Grossman: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Grossman flied out to center
            • M. Garver: Garver flied out to deep center
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Kepler grounded out to shortstop
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • Trevor Hildenberger relieved Matt Magill
            • W. Castillo: Strike looking, Strike looking, Castillo singled to shallow left
            • Y. Moncada: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Moncada walked, Castillo to second
            • R. Cordell: Ball, Strike looking, Cordell doubled to left center, Castillo scored, Moncada to third
            • Taylor Rogers relieved Trevor Hildenberger
            • Y. Sanchez: Strike swinging, Sanchez grounded out to shortstop, Moncada scored
            • L. Garcia: Ball, Ball, Garcia lined out to second
            • D. Palka: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Palka struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 7th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Juan Minaya relieved Dylan Covey
            • J. Graterol: Strike looking, Graterol flied out to center
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Mauer doubled to left center
            • J. Polanco: Foul, Ball, Ball, Polanco fouled out to catcher
            • Jace Fry relieved Juan Minaya
            • J. Cave: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Mauer to third on passed ball, Cave grounded out to second
            • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • Matt Magill relieved Andrew Vasquez
            • A. Garcia: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Garcia flied out to deep center
            • M. Davidson: Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Davidson struck out swinging
            • N. Delmonico: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Delmonico struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • R. Grossman: Ball, Strike swinging, Grossman fouled out to third
            • M. Garver: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Garver singled to deep left
            • M. Kepler: Foul, Foul, Kepler homered to right, Garver scored
            • L. Forsythe: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Forsythe grounded out to shortstop
            • W. Astudillo: Foul, Astudillo grounded out to second
            • End of the 6th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • Andrew Vasquez relieved Zack Littell
            • Y. Sanchez: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Sanchez struck out looking
            • L. Garcia: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Garcia struck out swinging
            • D. Palka: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Palka struck out looking
            • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • J. Graterol: Graterol grounded out to third
            • J. Mauer: Mauer flied out to center
            • J. Polanco: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Polanco walked
            • J. Cave: Strike swinging, Ball, Polanco stole second, Foul, Strike swinging, Cave struck out swinging
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • Z. Littell Pitching:
            • M. Davidson: Davidson popped out to first
            • N. Delmonico: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Delmonico grounded out to shortstop
            • W. Castillo: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Castillo hit by pitch
            • Y. Moncada: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Moncada walked, Castillo to second
            • R. Cordell: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Cordell lined out to center
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Polanco struck out looking
            • J. Cave: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Cave homered to center
            • R. Grossman: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Grossman walked
            • M. Garver: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Garver struck out swinging
            • M. Kepler: Kepler doubled to deep right, Grossman to third
            • L. Forsythe: Strike looking, Ball, Forsythe singled to center, Grossman and Kepler scored
            • W. Astudillo: Strike looking, Astudillo grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Forsythe out at second
            • End of the 4th (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • Z. Littell Pitching:
            • Y. Sanchez: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Sanchez grounded out to second
            • L. Garcia: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Garcia struck out swinging
            • D. Palka: Palka doubled to left center
            • A. Garcia: Ball, Garcia flied out to center
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • L. Forsythe: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Forsythe grounded out to pitcher
            • W. Astudillo: Astudillo singled to right
            • J. Graterol: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Graterol grounded out to shortstop, Astudillo to second
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Ball, Mauer grounded out to shortstop
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • Z. Littell Pitching:
            • W. Castillo: Foul, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Castillo struck out swinging
            • Y. Moncada: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Moncada struck out looking
            • R. Cordell: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Cordell lined out to left
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • R. Grossman: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Grossman grounded out to second
            • M. Garver: Strike looking, Foul, Garver fouled out to first
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Kepler grounded out to second
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • Z. Littell Pitching:
            • Y. Sanchez: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Sanchez walked
            • L. Garcia: Foul, Garcia hit sacrifice bunt to pitcher, Sanchez to second
            • D. Palka: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Palka reached on an infield single to second, Sanchez to third
            • A. Garcia: Foul, Garcia singled to center, Sanchez scored, Palka to third
            • M. Davidson: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Davidson hit sacrifice fly to center, Palka scored
            • N. Delmonico: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Strike swinging, Delmonico struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 1st (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Covey Pitching:
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Mauer grounded out to second
            • J. Polanco: Polanco flied out to left
            • J. Cave: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Cave grounded out to first
            • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)