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Buxton 'more comfortable' in 2nd stint with Twins

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Byron Buxton was called up on Tuesday after a productive stint at Triple-A Rochester, he still carried his .156/.208/.289 batting line from his first 17 games of the season.

But Buxton has looked like a different player since his promotion, as he has a hit in all six games since rejoining the Twins, batting .435 (10-for-23) with a double and two triples over that span. Buxton had his best game yet in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Rays, as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple off the right-field wall. It helped him lift his season slash line to a more respectable .250/.278/.412 in 23 games.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- When Byron Buxton was called up on Tuesday after a productive stint at Triple-A Rochester, he still carried his .156/.208/.289 batting line from his first 17 games of the season.

But Buxton has looked like a different player since his promotion, as he has a hit in all six games since rejoining the Twins, batting .435 (10-for-23) with a double and two triples over that span. Buxton had his best game yet in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Rays, as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple off the right-field wall. It helped him lift his season slash line to a more respectable .250/.278/.412 in 23 games.

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"I'm a lot more comfortable," Buxton said. "I'm having better at-bats. I'm just trying to help us any way I can and help us win. It's tough, but we still have to go out there and grind it out."

Buxton entered hitting .100 (6-for-60) off lefties in his career and struck out in all three previous at-bats against Drew Smyly last year. But this time, he had a hit in both at-bats against Smyly. He bunted for his first hit of the day, and later reached on a bloop single on an 0-2 count in the sixth.

"It's good to see," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He got the push bunt. Lefties have been tough on him in the early stages of his career. And we talk about going to the opposite field, and he was able to hit that one into the right-field corner. He also fought off in that last at-bat with two strikes to give himself a chance."

The bunt single came in his first at-bat and was a welcome sign, as the Twins had him working on his bunting at Triple-A Rochester at the request of Molitor.

"I showed bunt at least once a game at Triple-A," Buxton said. "I might've got three or four down for a hit. But all my bunts at Triple-A were to first base, because third base was playing in. So I got more comfortable bunting to first base, which kind of opens it up."

In the third, Buxton came up with two outs and Kurt Suzuki on first, and he was able to muscle a 1-1 cutter on the outside part of the plate off the wall in right. The ball took a hard carom off the wall, which allowed Suzuki to score from first, and Buxton said he was thinking about a potential inside-the-park home run.

"I thought about it, but when I looked up, I saw Suzuki was halfway between second and third and I was rounding second," Buxton said with a smile. "So I slowed down and looked over at [third-base coach Gene Glynn], and he was waving him so I kept going."

But it wasn't all positive, as Buxton also was charged with an error in the ninth that allowed Steven Souza Jr. to reach third, as the ball hit the bottom of the fence and came back under Buxton's legs. Souza ended up scoring the winning run on a sacrifice fly from Brad Miller.

"It's tough," Buxton said. "I was kicking myself a little bit. I looked back at the video, but there wasn't much else I could do other than kind of corral the ball, but if I had to do that and go down to one knee, it would've been an easy triple."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins