Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/12/13
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins turned in a handful of nice defensive plays in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Philadelphia. Shortstop Pedro Florimon led the way with a gem up the middle of the infield for the first out of the game, and outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Clete Thomas followed suit with nice catches of their own. Yet, while those types of defensive plays are the ones that make the highlight reels, they're not what has impressed manager Ron Gardenhire the most about his team's defense this season. It's been getting back to fundamental baseball that has the skipper pleased. "It's not always about the great plays, but it's about the outs you're supposed to get," Gardenhire said. "The outs we're supposed to get, we've been getting, along with some pretty good ones. Arcia running that ball fading away from him, that was a really nice play. Florimon, the first play of the game, a hard-hit ball up the middle, he made a really nice play. "We can make some of those, too, but really it's the outs you're supposed to get." For a franchise that has prided itself on defense over the years, the Twins got away from playing fundamental defense last season. Minnesota committed 107 errors in 2012, tied for ninth-most in baseball. The Twins' fielding percentage of .983 also ranked in the bottom third of all 30 teams. This spring, Gardenhire and the rest of the coaching staff put a heavy emphasis on getting back to playing fundamental baseball. That starts with defense. Through the Twins' first 61 games, it seems those lessons learned in spring training have paid off. Entering Wednesday's game against the Phillies, Minnesota had committed just 26 errors, tied for fifth-fewest in the majors. "It makes my job easier knowing they're going to run the balls down and make the plays behind me," said Twins right-hander P.J. Walters, the benefactor of the trio of nice plays made in Tuesday's game at Target Field. "Those plays they make, they obviously get an out; they keep a guy off base. The balls in right center and down the line that the outfielders run down are extra base hits if they don't catch them. That's more pitches I've got to throw. As a pitcher, that's huge." The Twins' defense has been solid despite a rotating lineup and, as a result, plenty of moving parts on defense. Gardenhire has had to shuffle his outfield recently as center fielder Aaron Hicks landed on the disabled list. The infield remains in flux, too, with Trevor Plouffe also on the DL and a platoon of veteran Jamey Carroll and utility man Eduardo Escobar bouncing around the infield while Brian Dozier has manned second base. "I know I can speak for everybody, I feel like we have a lot of guys that can play some different positions," Dozier said. "The outfield's been doing a good job hitting relay men, playing balls off the wall, running balls down. That goes a long way. I think a big thing is hitting cutoff men this year and keeping double plays in order and allowing us to turn a lot more double plays." The Twins have turned 62 double plays, the fourth-most in baseball. As Dozier noted, it's due to outfielders doing the little things correctly that Minnesota has found success turning double plays. Having a staff of groundball pitchers also helps, but the infielders have had to make the plays behind them. For the most part, they have. The starting pitching remains a work in progress the Twins' rotation has a 5.22 ERA, third-worst in baseball and the offense has been streaky throughout the season. The one constant, though, has been the defense. Minnesota's ability to field the ball is a big reason why the Twins appear to be improved from last year's team that lost 96 games. "I think from Day 1 when we had our first meeting, Gardy put more emphasis on we're going to get back to throwing and catching the ball like we're supposed to and being fundamentally sound, one through nine, everybody on the field," Dozier said. "There've been times this year when we went through a struggle hitting. But I think the defense has been the most consistent. That's why we're still winning baseball games. We're hanging in there. You've got to start with pitching and defense. Safe to say everything's been good so far." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

NHL rumors: Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker