Ben Revere brings Twins fans to their feet with yet another memorable catch.
By TYLER MASONFS North
MINNEAPOLIS — Ben Revere's bat has come alive lately, but the Minnesota Twins outfielder added yet another memorable catch to his ever-growing highlight reel.
Revere's catch in the 11th inning of Sunday's 5-4 Twins victory over Milwaukee robbed the Brewers' Norichika Aoki of an extra-base hit. Revere lunged and extended his glove to make the catch as the ball sliced toward the right-field corner. As Revere slid on the warning track with the ball safely in his glove, the Twins fans at Target Field rose to their feet to give him a standing ovation.
"It was tailing away pretty quick. I kind of just reached my glove out and saw the ball go in my glove," Revere said. "It kind of hurt, but it was one of those plays where I was trying to get the game going, just hopefully get a 'W.'"
The catch was a potential difference-maker in the game, as Minnesota eventually won in 15 innings. It likely doesn’t go that long if Revere didn't make his impressive catch. After Revere's defensive gem, reliever Brian Duensing retired Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun to end the inning. Had Aoki reached safely, the Brewers would have threatened to take the lead.
While Revere's 11th-inning snag was by far his most memorable play Sunday, it wasn't the only diving catch he made. He also robbed Brewers third baseman Taylor Green in the top of the eighth inning on another stellar defensive play. Green hit one to right field that started dying before it reached Revere. But the speedy right fielder came in on the ball, dove and made the catch.
"He made about two or three catches that were unbelievable tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He's really tracking the ball. They hit some balls hard and with top spin, and he just ran them down. That was a heck of a performance by a defensive player."
As good as his glove was Sunday — and throughout his young career, for that matter — Revere showed that his bat continues to be coming around. Revere had two hits and a stolen base in the win. Despite the two-hit day, though, Revere's average actually dropped to .328 after having seven at-bats. Still, that's a major increase from his .267 average of last season.
Revere has been driving more balls than he did a year ago, when he would frequently ground out. The difference, he said, has been his hand positioning.
"Last year I had my hands kind of low,” Revere said. “I kept grounding a bunch of pitches. Now I'm staying through it and hitting a lot more line drives and driving the ball a little bit this year."
Including his two hits Sunday, Revere now has nine multi-hit games in June and has hits in nine of his past 10 games. He's done all of that as the Twins' No. 2 hitter in the lineup. Gardenhire moved Revere to the second spot on May 19 in Milwaukee, and he's been there all but two games in which he led off in early June.
Revere insists it doesn't matter where he hits in the lineup, but his teammates have noted the change in Minnesota's offense when Revere is hitting ahead of the Twins' big bats.
"It's made a difference since Revere's been in there and getting on base a lot and running around and doing the things that he does," Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said earlier this week. "There's so many other things that go into it, and I think when you have the guys at the top of the order getting on base, that kind of sets the tone for everything, and we have those guys."
Revere was on deck Sunday when the winning run scored in the 15th inning. Driving in the run was Denard Span, the player Revere often refers to as his big brother. Both are natural center fielders, but like Span several years ago, Revere is relegated to playing right field.
With those two roaming the right side of Minnesota's outfield, not too many balls get by for hits.
"Those guys have instincts," Gardenhire said.
Revere's instinct after Span's game winner? Chase after his friend and teammate in the postgame scrum. But the elder Span slipped a few nifty moves to elude Revere before finally letting him have his fun.
"Denard did juke me out a couple times. I was mad. I was about to tackle him like Ray Lewis," Revere said. "After the first couple, I was like, 'Alright man.' He kept doing it. I was like, 'Alright man, keep playing.' Usually I'm pretty good. Usually I can get the guy after a couple tries. If it was the ninth inning I would have had him down, but it was 15 so I just let him have the joy."