Twins looking for leadoff spark from Mauer

First baseman hits atop the order for first time in loss to Orioles

Twins looking for leadoff spark from Mauer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer made his first career start as the leadoff hitter in the Twins' 5-3 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday, going 0-for-3 with a walk, and is expected to remain the club's leadoff hitter in the short-term.

The Twins are hoping that Mauer, who was scheduled to make his first career start in the leadoff spot on Monday before the game was postponed due to rain, will help give the top of the lineup a spark. He's currently second in the American League with a .415 on-base percentage.

"We all know Joe has been doing extremely well," manager Paul Molitor said. "You can make the argument that Joe is our best one hitter, two hitter and three hitter. We've tried two and three and now we're trying one."

The Twins are scheduled to see several right-handed starters in a row, so Molitor said that Tuesday's start atop the lineup for Mauer isn't going to be a one-game deal.

"I think we have at least eight consecutive right-handed pitchers coming up against us, which bodes well for the possibility of Joe staying up there for a while," Molitor said. "He's been an option because he's been such on-base guy. The way things have been going, I'd be foolish not to think about giving that a shot."

Mauer, who said he couldn't remember the last time he batted first at any level, said the move atop the lineup won't change his approach.

"Just try to have good at-bats," Mauer said. "For me, maybe it gives me another at-bat at the end. Hopefully, we shake things up and get the offense going."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. 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.