Max Kepler and Jake Cave each homered to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox in what may have been the final game of 2009 American League MVP Joe Mauer’s career on Sunday afternoon.
Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2001 MLB Draft from nearby Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, went 1-for-4 — a signature line-drive double to the gap in left-center in the seventh inning on a 3-2 pitch off reliever Juan Minaya — in his 1,858th game in 15 seasons with the Twins. It was the 2,123rd career hit and club record 428th career double for the three-time AL batting champion.
The 35-year-old Mauer, who said he will decide in a couple weeks whether he will retire or play again after finishing up an eight-year, $184-million contract, received a standing ovation that lasted over one minute from the Target Field crowd of 30,144 when he led off the bottom of the first inning and was greeted at first base by five-year-old twin daughters Emily and Maren to start the game.
The only catcher to win an AL batting title also made a surprise appearance behind the plate for one pitch to start the ninth before leaving the game to another standing ovation.
Logan Forsythe singled and drove in two runs for Minnesota (78-84) with finished with a season-best six-game winning streak and in second place in the AL Central. Andrew Vasquez (1-0) struck out the side in a scoreless fifth to pick his first major league victory and Trevor May, who struck out two of three batters he faced, picked up his third save.
Daniel Palka doubled and had two hits for Chicago (62-100) which finished fourth in the AL Central and finished with 100 losses for fourth time in franchise history. Dylan Covey (5-14) gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in six innings to take the loss.
After Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Avisail Garcia and a sacrifice fly by Matt Davidson, the Twins bounced back to take a 5-2 lead on a 420-foot solo homer to center by Cave and a two-out, two-run single by Forsythe in the fourth.
Kepler followed with his 20th homer of the season, a towering 409-foot two-run blast into the plaza behind the bleachers in right in the sixth for what proved to be the game winner.
—Field Level Media