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Error-free season slips away from Mauer

Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer scoops the throw as San Diego Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe (10) beats it out for a single during the sixth inning at Petco Park in San Diego on Aug. 1, 2017. Jake Roth / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was still kicking himself Friday, Aug. 4 after the dropped foul pop in Thursday's 4-1 loss that gave him his first error in 13 months.

"I looked down to make sure I didn't trip over the bag and then I looked back up and I didn't see it," Mauer said. "I lost it until it was about 10 feet away. That was unfortunate."

Robinson Chirinos followed with a line single after that two-out reprieve, but Adalberto Mejia struck out Nomar Mazara with the bases loaded to keep Mauer's fourth-inning mistake from compounding.

"I'm glad it didn't lead to any more runs," said Mauer, set to move past Tony Oliva with his next hit for third-most in Twins history. "I've still got a little sour taste in my mouth, but you've got to move on."

Since his previous error on July 6 of last season against the Oakland A's, Mauer had gone 119 games and 1,037 chances between errors. Since making the full-time switch to first base in 2014, Mauer has been charged with 11 errors in 413 games.

Five of those came in 2015, when he played 137 games at first.

"I think if you talk to anybody in this room, they'd like to have an error-free season," he said. "It's frustrating. I feel like I could've made a play, but I lost it for that moment and didn't see it until it was too late. It was that time of night, too, in the twilight, but I should have caught it for sure. "

Mauer, who won three Rawlings Gold Glove awards as a catcher, is in line to add to his collection at his new position. He is tied for the American League lead at first in defensive runs saved (six) with Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians, and Mauer leads AL first baseman by a wide margin in both defensive wins above replacement and ultimate zone rating per 150 games.

He is third in the league with 18 scoops, saving a young left side of the infield plenty of errors, and continues to amaze with his over-the-shoulder grabs in foul ground or down the right-field line. That latest came during the last road trip in Oakland.

"That's a tough stadium with the high sky and all the extra foul ground," Mauer said. "You just hope it drops in your glove. I was kind of joking around: 'Back to my football days.' I could have made a pretty good receiver too."

Goin departs

Twins director of baseball research Jack Goin has left the organization, according to a person with direct knowledge.

Goin, 39, was in his 15th season with the Twins and his seventh overseeing the club's analytics department. Goin, who holds a master's in business administration from the University of St. Thomas, was hired full-time in 2003 by former general manager Terry Ryan, who was fired in July 2016.

Goin has held a variety of roles with the club, including administrative assistant positions in scouting and to the GM as well as manager of major league administration. Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson recently credited Goin with helping him in the area of pitch usage.

Twins manager Paul Molitor has spoken often of Goin's contributions in the area of lineup construction and preparation for late-game matchups.

Gibson's consolation

Getting shipped back to Triple-A Rochester for the second time this season was a bitter pill for Gibson to swallow, but the Greenfield, Ind., native was glad he got the chance to pitch in front of 70 friends and family members last week at Indianapolis' Victory Field.

Among those on hand for Gibson's five innings of one-hit ball were both sets of Gibson's grandparents: Doug and Von Gibson on his father's side and maternal grandparents Jerry and Phyllis Wasson.

"They're 80 years old and getting older," Gibson said. "I had a chance to have some real good quality time with the family there. It's one of those things that's a little bittersweet."

Doug Gibson "isn't able to travel a whole lot," Gibson said, while grandma Gibson "actually hates baseball" and only watches when her grandson is on the mound. It was the first time Gibson, who starts Saturday against the Texas Rangers, had seen his grandparents since the end of spring training.

Santiago returns

Lefty Hector Santiago (upper back) returned to Target Field after completing a three-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester.

Santiago posted a 4.65 ERA in those outings, including a nine-strikeout performance over 5 2/3 innings on Thursday.

His next turn would fall on Tuesday, but the Twins haven't decided yet how to deploy the veteran with the expiring contract.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there," Molitor said.

Briefly

Lefty Craig Breslow, released by the Twins on Sunday, signed a minor-league deal with the first-place Cleveland Indians. Breslow, who turns 37 on Aug. 8, made seven appearances with the Indians in 2008 before the Twins claimed him off waivers.

Veteran swingman Dillon Gee will likely be unavailable for the rest of the Rangers series after working three innings on 61 pitches Thursday, Molitor said.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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