Dozier makes Final Vote case with walk-off blast

Dozier makes Final Vote case with walk-off blast

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was quite the statement from Twins second baseman Brian Dozier after he was left off the American League roster for the 2015 All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile on July 14 in Cincinnati.

Dozier, who still has a chance to become an All-Star for the first time in his career via the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote -- he's a close second behind Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas after the first balloting update -- crushed a two-run blast in the 10th inning to lift the Twins to a 4-2 walk-off win over the Orioles on Monday night. It was the team-leading 17th homer for Dozier.

"He found his way on that ballot, which is recognition in itself, and it worked out well for him on the first day to do what he did," manager Paul Molitor said. "People who like to watch 'SportsCenter' or 'MLB Tonight,' they'll see what he's doing. Maybe they'll put up his numbers from the first half and it'll catch some people's eyes."

Dozier's walk-off homer

Dozier joins Boston's Xander Bogaerts, Detroit's Yoenis Cespedes, Moustakas and New York's Brett Gardner as the five AL candidates for the Final Vote, as announced on Monday. Balloting is open through 3 p.m. CT on Friday, and the Twins have a #VoteDozier hashtag on Twitter. Dozier said he hoped to be an All-Star, but that it wasn't a major letdown when he wasn't selected as a reserve.

"There wasn't any disappointment because obviously there's a lot of good players out there," Dozier said. "I was kind of optimistic going into the whole deal, especially after they announced [Jose] Altuve [of the Astros] as a starter. But it wasn't a major disappointment or anything. And there's still a chance I can get in it as part of the Final Vote."

After going 1-for-4 on Monday, Dozier leads the AL in extra-base hits with 46 and is tied with Toronto's Josh Donaldson for the AL lead with 63 runs scored, but Altuve was voted in as the starter, while Cleveland's Jason Kipnis was selected over Dozier.

Dozier has been Minnesota's best hitter this season, batting .260/.332/.517 with 17 homers, 26 doubles, three triples, seven stolen bases and 42 RBIs in 82 games. He wasn't selected for the All-Star Game last year at Target Field, but he participated in the Home Run Derby.

Dating to last season, Dozier leads all Major League second basemen with 7.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and his 2.8 WAR this season ranks second behind Kipnis among AL second basemen, per Fangraphs.com.

"He's been the best second baseman in baseball for the last year and a half," said Twins closer Glen Perkins, who was selected as an All-Star for the third straight year. "So he deserves it. Hopefully, we can get him in as one of those last couple guys. But he belongs. He's an All-Star player."

During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (6 p.m. CT air time, 7:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.