MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have long preached to their pitching staff to throw strikes, pitch to contact and trust their defense behind them.
But with the way the club has been playing defense so far in 2010, perhaps it's never been easier for the pitchers to buy into that system than it has this year.
Sunday's 6-3 victory over the Rangers marked the Twins' 50th game of the season, and over that span, the club has recorded just 12 errors. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the fewest number of errors allowed by a team through the first 50 games of the season. The previous record had been 17, set by both the 2006 Red Sox and the 2009 Phillies.
"It's pretty awesome," Twins starting pitcher Scott Baker said of the defense. "Really, as a pitcher all you can ask is that they make the routine plays, and they've not only done that, they've saved a lot of pitchers from runs. Obviously, it's translated into a bunch of wins. Hopefully, we can continue to do that. At the rate that we've been going, it's pretty unbelievable."
The Twins have not recorded an error at two infield positions so far this year -- first base and third base. The club's lone error at shortstop came in the eighth inning of Saturday's contest, when J.J. Hardy fielded a grounder but had the ball fly from his glove as he made the transfer. And second baseman Orlando Hudson had just two errors in 253 chances entering Sunday's contest.
Errors certainly aren't the only statistic on which to judge a defense. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said there are quite a few other things that he factors into his assessment of his fielders, but he doesn't hesitate to say that his club is playing strong defense so far this season.
"The mental mistakes aren't happening, which is a good thing," Gardenhire said. "We're throwing the ball to the right bases. We're catching the balls we're supposed to catch, and not giving extra outs."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.