Boyer's resurgence has Twins confident late

Since early-season funk, righty has handled eighth-inning role with ease

Boyer's resurgence has Twins confident late

PITTSBURGH -- It's been quite a transformation for Twins reliever Blaine Boyer.

After posting a 15.00 ERA through his first four outings, the right-hander turned it around to toss 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings before giving up a solo homer to Pirates star Andrew McCutchen in Wednesday's 4-3, 13-inning win. Boyer has been a key part of the Twins' surprising 23-17 start to the season, as he's been lights-out in the eighth inning while Casey Fien recovers from a right shoulder strain on the 15-day disabled list.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins to activate Stauffer; Bernier optioned

Right-handed reliever expected to return on Friday after straining intercostal

Twins to activate Stauffer; Bernier optioned

PITTSBURGH -- The Twins will activate right-handed reliever Tim Stauffer from the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday's game against the White Sox, the club announced on Thursday. Infielder Doug Bernier was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Stauffer on the roster.

Stauffer, who was placed on the DL with a right intercostal strain on May 1, retroactive to April 30, made four rehab appearances with Triple-A Rochester. He posted a 5.40 ERA in five innings, giving up three runs on six hits. He recorded two outs on Wednesday, giving up a run on two hits in his final rehab appearance.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mauer picks good time for first homer of 2015

Mauer picks good time for first homer of 2015

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Mauer picked an opportune time for his first homer of the year.

Mauer, who hadn't homered since Aug. 17, connected on a go-ahead solo blast in the 13th inning to lift the Twins to a 4-3 win over the Pirates on Wednesday night.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mauer powers Twins to extra-innings win over Pirates

Mauer powers Twins to extra-innings win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Mauer picked the right moment for his first home run of the season, ripping a solo shot to right field in the 13th inning and sending the Twins to a 4-3 win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday night.

The Twins jumped out to a three-run lead in the first but let the Pirates creep back into the game before trading zeros for three extra frames. Mauer finally broke through against Pirates lefty Antonio Bastardo, lining an 0-1 pitch into the right-field stands, his first homer since Aug. 17.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fien, Arcia ready to begin rehab assignments

Fien, Arcia ready to begin rehab assignments

PITTSBURGH -- Twins reliever Casey Fien threw a bullpen session at Target Field without any issues on Wednesday, and is set to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester.

Fien, on the 15-day disabled list since April 30 with a right shoulder strain, previously threw a bullpen session on Sunday. The Twins haven't announced how many rehab appearances Fien will need before returning, but he's expected to be activated before the end of the month.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins prospects thrive for Double-A Chattanooga Wednesday night

Huge night for top Twins prospects, including two triples for No. 1 prospect Byron Buxton

Twins prospects thrive for Double-A Chattanooga Wednesday night

The Twins received standout performances from five of their Top 30 prospects in the same game Wednesday night.

No. 1 prospect (No. 1 overall ) Byron Buxton led the Double-A Chattanooga charge with a pair of triples, putting him on top of the Minor Leagues with nine this year. No. 2 prospect (No. 12 overall) Miguel Sano added two doubles, while No. 13 prospect Adam Brett Walker and No. 15 prospect Max Kepler contributed a home run each.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes, Twins travel to Chicago to face White Sox

Hughes, Twins travel to Chicago to face White Sox

After sweeping a four-game series against the White Sox at Target Field to open the month, the Twins head to Chicago for a three-game series against a club that has started to play better baseball after struggling early in the year.

White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija starts opposite Twins right-hander Phil Hughes in the series opener Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Aaron Hicks singles after pitcher plays soccer

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Aaron Hicks singles after pitcher plays soccer

After being called up to the Twins last week, outfielder Aaron Hicks has seven hits in seven games. The seventh came during the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 8-5 win over the Pirates, when reliever Jared Hughes seemed to have momentarily hallucinated that he was playing soccer.

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Twins' offense strikes early against Liriano

Twins' offense strikes early against Liriano

PITTSBURGH -- It was a version of left-hander Francisco Liriano the Twins had seen plenty of times before.

But this time, fortunately for Minnesota, it came in a Pirates uniform, as he struggled against his former team in an 8-5 win for the Twins. Liriano, who pitched with the Twins from 2005-2012, lasted just two innings, giving up seven runs on five hits and two walks.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Six-run second inning leads Twins past Bucs

Six-run second inning leads Twins past Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- The Twins used a six-run second inning to build up a big lead against former Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano and held on to beat the Pirates, 8-5, at PNC Park on Tuesday night.

Liriano, who pitched for the Twins from 2005-12, gave up seven runs on five hits, including two homers, in only two innings of work. Minnesota sent nine batters to the plate in the second, when Joe Mauer drove in three runs on a single to left and Trevor Plouffe added two more with a homer to left-center field.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Joe Mauer drove in three runs on a ground-ball single

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Joe Mauer drove in three runs on a ground-ball single

OK, here's a riddle for you: The bases are loaded and Joe Mauer's at the plate. Mauer hits a single and three runs score. No, Mauer did not hurt himself rounding first base. And no, there were zero errors on the play. How does such a thing happen? 

Well ...

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Buxton hits grand slam in Chattanooga win

Baseball's No. 1 prospect hits fifth homer of season, swipes 11th base

Buxton hits grand slam in Chattanooga win

While Byron Buxton's average sits at .240 after a slow start to the season, the game's top prospect continues to fill up the stat sheet and produce runs, as evidenced by his performance on Tuesday night, when he went 2-for-5 with a grand slam, a stolen base and two runs scored to lead Double-A Chattanooga to a 10-3 win over Montgomery.

The Twins' No. 1 prospect took Biscuits right-hander Jared Mortensen deep with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.to put the Lookouts up, 8-2. Buxton's slam was part of an impressive team performance that saw every Chattanooga starter reach base, and all but one score at least one run.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana begins throwing bullpen sessions

Santana begins throwing bullpen sessions

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Ervin Santana, who is serving an 80-game suspension for the use of a performance-enhancing substance, has started throwing bullpen sessions at the Twins' Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

Santana, who has a home in Sarasota, Fla., started ramping up his throwing program last week in Fort Myers. He's scheduled to throw live batting practice next week before moving on to starting in extended spring training games.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins activate Nunez from 15-day DL

Twins activate Nunez from 15-day DL

PITTSBURGH -- The Twins officially activated utility man Eduardo Nunez from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, two days after they optioned designated hitter Kennys Vargas to Triple-A Rochester.

The move to activate Nunez was announced on Sunday, but didn't become official until before Tuesday's game against the Pirates.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No place like home: Twins thriving at Target Field

Hunter gives new meaning to 'Dancing With the Stars' in postgame celebration

No place like home: Twins thriving at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a Twins win at Target Field, veteran outfielder Torii Hunter addresses his teammates from the middle of the clubhouse, and then the fun really starts. With two fog machines and music blaring, the player of the game is invited to the middle of the room and the dance party begins.

It's become a tradition for Minnesota early this season, and so far, it's been a regular occurrence, as the Twins have won 14 of 20 at home this year en route to a 21-17 record that has them among the biggest surprises in baseball so far.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Berrios on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Bryant, Schwarber, Vogelbach earn honors with combined eight homers and 20 RBIs

Berrios on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

In his first month with the Cubs, Kris Bryant has done nothing but add to the belief that he'll become a superstar. Despite missing Chicago's first eight games in an apparent attempt to leverage his service time, he leads the team with 24 RBIs and 24 walks in 29 games while batting a cool .291/.426/.476.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson can't go deep as bullpen implodes

Starter labors through five before relievers struggle

Gibson can't go deep as bullpen implodes

MINNEAPOLIS -- The importance of having a pitcher get deep into the game was evident for the Twins on Sunday, as right-hander Kyle Gibson kept his team in the game, but lasted just five innings, which opened the door for the bullpen to implode in an 11-3 loss to the Rays at Target Field.

Gibson, who averaged 6 2/3 innings over his last five starts, couldn't keep his impressive roll going, as he gave up three runs on eight hits in his second-shortest outing of the year. He said the issue was being too predictable with his pitch patterns, and it's something he'll work on going forward.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen hit hard in finale loss to Rays

Bullpen hit hard in finale loss to Rays

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Chris Archer threw six strong innings and was backed by three RBIs each from Evan Longoria and James Loney to help the Rays to an 11-3 win over the Twins in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

Archer saw his streak of 20 2/3 scoreless innings on the road come to an end on an RBI single from Joe Mauer in the first, but settled down after that. He scattered four hits and walked one with four strikeouts.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fien inching closer toward return to Twins

Arcia not yet ready for live batting practice

Fien inching closer toward return to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins reliever Casey Fien, on the 15-day disabled list since April 30 with a right shoulder strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session without any issues on Sunday.

Fien threw all of his pitches and said the plan is to throw another session on Wednesday before starting a rehab assignment. He said he's still not sure where it will be just yet, but he'll likely head out on Thursday or Friday.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar's four-hit day helps Twins beat Rays

Escobar's four-hit day helps Twins beat Rays

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Trevor May bounced back after a rough outing to turn in a quality start and was backed by a four-hit day from Eduardo Escobar to help lead the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

May gave up three runs on seven hits over a career-high 6 2/3 innings, but exited with the game tied after giving up a two-run homer to Tim Beckham in the seventh. The only other run he gave up came on a sacrifice fly from Logan Forsythe in the fourth.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

May's strong outing sets stage for late-inning win

Right-hander allows three runs over career-high 6 2/3 innings vs. Rays

May's strong outing sets stage for late-inning win

MINNEAPOLIS -- After seeing how much the starting rotation struggled for the Twins over the last four years, one of the things manager Paul Molitor has tried to instill in his starting pitchers is the mentality to pitch deeper into games.

It was evident against the Rays on Saturday, as he stuck with rookie right-hander Trevor May for the seventh inning with the Twins up 3-1 and May at 89 pitches. The move didn't end up working out, as May served up a game-tying two-run homer to Tim Beckham, but for Molitor, it was more about the process than the result.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins activate Robinson, place Schafer on DL

Outfielder out with right knee MCL sprain

Twins activate Robinson, place Schafer on DL

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins activated outfielder Shane Robinson from the family emergency list after missing four games, and placed fellow outfielder Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee MCL sprain.

Robinson was placed on the family emergency list on Tuesday, and was eligible to return on Friday. He had until Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh to return without being placed on the restricted list.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dozier's pair of RBIs help Twins sting Rays

Dozier's pair of RBIs help Twins sting Rays

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins rallied late, keyed by a game-tying RBI triple from Danny Santana, and a go-ahead sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier in the seventh inning in a 3-2 win over the Rays on Friday night at Target Field.

With the Twins trailing by a run in the seventh, Aaron Hicks led off with a single before Santana tripled into the corner in right field to score Hicks. It knocked Rays starter Jake Odorizzi from the game, as reliever Kevin Jepsen was brought in and promptly gave up the go-ahead sac fly to Dozier. It was the second RBI for Dozier, who also hit a homer in the third.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dozier has blast celebrating winning birthday

Dozier has blast celebrating winning birthday

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was a nice way for Brian Dozier to celebrate his 28th birthday.

The second baseman hit a game-tying homer in the third inning and came through with the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh to help lead the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Rays on Friday night at Target Field.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sano among top performers in Minors

Twins No. 2 prospect launches two homers for Double-A, including one in 10th inning

Sano among top performers in Minors

Twins No. 2 prospect Miguel Sano has displayed considerable power throughout his time in the Minor Leagues. He did so twice Friday, nine innings apart.

Sano launched two home runs for Double-A Chattanooga in the club's 7-5 win over Birmingham on Friday night. His first homer, a first-inning solo shot to left field, gave the Lookouts a 1-0 lead.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gross excited to be Twins' Honorary Bat Girl

Gross excited to be Twins' Honorary Bat Girl

MINNEAPOLIS -- When her mother, Joyce Jezierski, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Julie Gross searched for ways to honor her by fundraising and bringing awareness to the cause.

On Friday, Gross was the one being honored as the Twins' Honorary Bat Girl -- one of 30 women recognized by Major League Baseball.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.