MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite trading All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Twins hadn't found themselves in a save situation until Sunday.That's when Twins manager Paul Molitor called on veteran right-hander Matt Belisle with a one-run lead against the Rangers. Belisle came through to help
MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite trading All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Twins hadn't found themselves in a save situation until Sunday.
That's when Twins manager Paul Molitor called on veteran right-hander Matt Belisle with a one-run lead against the Rangers. Belisle came through to help preserve a 6-5 win that salvaged a series split at Target Field. It also moved the Twins within three games of the Royals and Rays for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"It's fun," Belisle said. "You don't know when you'll necessarily get [a save chance], but it's been very fun to help out with this 'pen and to remind the younger guys it's about winning, and not when or how. It's just about getting it done."
Belisle, a 14-year veteran with 643 career appearances, had recorded just five saves prior to Sunday's game. It was his first save since Oct. 3, 2012, with the Rockies, but that was a one-out save. He saved a career-high three games that year, while his other saves came in '05 and '10.
Belisle couldn't even remember his last save, and said his mentality in the ninth was no different than any other inning.
"Sometimes you can make things more than they are," Belisle said. "My job is to execute the pitch that was just given to me. When that's done, it's the next pitch. That's what I try to focus on."
Molitor, though, said it remains a closer-by-committee, as left-hander Taylor Rogers could get opportunities based on matchups. Rogers threw a 1-2-3 eighth to pick up his Major League-leading 25th hold.
"That's the way we're going to go here," Molitor said. "It was nice to see both guys had a good inning with a one-run lead against a team that can swing the bat. It can get flipped every now and then, but we have enough experience and stuff to get late outs."
Belisle has been on an impressive run, as he has a 13 1/3-scoreless innings streak to lower his ERA from 6.53 to 4.53, while Rogers had scuffled recently, allowing at least one run in each of his last six relief appearances. So Rogers was relieved to put an end to that streak, and said the bullpen has nothing but confidence in Belisle.
"It was really nice because it felt like forever since I threw up a zero," Rogers said with a smile. "For us to battle back from 5-0 and help preserve a win, it just feels so much better to be a part of that. And [Belisle] is awesome. He struggled early on, but we knew he'd get back to where he usually is and now he is. It's just the kind of human being he is."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.