MINNEAPOLIS -- In a one-run game -- especially one that lasts 13 innings -- every play can make a difference.
When Twins catcher Joe Mauer threw out Houston's Brandon Barnes at second base in the top of the seventh inning Friday night, it may not have seemed like a game-changing play at the time. Minnesota trailed 2-0 at that point and still had plenty of work to do to get back into the game.
As it turned out, though, the Twins sent the game to extras before winning in the 13th inning. Had Barnes instead been on second base with nobody out, there's no telling what that run might have meant for the Astros.
"That might be the one run that wins us the game," said Terry Steinbach, the Twins' bench coach and former catcher. "If we can throw a guy out in the second inning and all of a sudden it's the ninth inning and we win by one, maybe it was that runner that we threw out that saved that game."
Last season, Mauer threw out just 14 percent of potential base stealers, easily the lowes...