MINNEAPOLIS - As Joe Mauer walked back to the dugout, the bat in his hand and a sour look on his face, there were boos from the Minnesota crowd. Mauer struck out to end the inning, with a runner on third base in the seventh on Wednesday and the Twins trailing 1-0. Everybody does this, of course, in a sport with a 30 per cent success rate at the plate long proven to be a benchmark of excellence. Failures this year have piled up for Mauer faster than usual for the six-time All-Star, three-time American League batting champion and one-time AL MVP. "Im a heck of a lot more frustrated than they are," Mauer said that night, when asked about those jeering fans. The sound of those boos has been jarring, considering hes the hometown guy from St. Paul with the handsome looks and the hitting skills to build a .321 career batting average, the best among all active players in baseball with at least 3,000 plate appearances. Minnesotans are fiercely proud of and protective of their natives, so Mauer figured to have a lifetime pass in the popularity department here. After signing that $184 million, eight-year contract extension in 2010, though, he has become a more-frequent target of criticism from fans frustrated by the teams struggles the past several years. The 28 home runs he hit in 138 games in 2009 were a one-year wonder. Lingering lower-body injuries limited him to 82 games in 2011. This season, his on-base-plus-slugging percentage was at a career-low .704 entering the weekend series in New York. Mauer is also on pace to blow by his career-high strikeout total of 89 set last year. "I feel pretty good actually, which is even more frustrating," he said. "Im hitting a lot of balls hard and just not having much to show for it. So hopefully that turns here soon." Mauer isnt the only one sputtering with the Twins. The teams batting average with runners in scoring position fell to .214, the second-worst in the league, after losing three of four games to Texas this week. "Were putting together a lot of good at-bats but still not driving people in with runners in scoring position. Thats the main focus, getting guys on, but we cant get them in," second baseman Brian Dozier said. Mauer reluctantly gave up his job as the catcher to better protect himself from another concussion, after missing the final six weeks of last season following a foul tip that hit him in the head. The loss to the Twins of Mauers intelligence and defence behind the plate was supposed to be trumped by an increase in his availability and production at a less-taxing position. He missed five games with back spasms earlier this month, but since then he said he feels fine. The problem has been these paltry totals: nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs through Thursday. "The expectations are very high for him. People get frustrated. I just dont want Joe to get frustrated. I know he is a little bit right now, because he doesnt have the results he wants. But I dont want to put any more pressure on the guy," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I just want him to just keep being himself, keep swinging, and hell be fine." ___ Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP Wesley Johnson Jersey
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. The D-Backs came into being in 1998 and appear destined to finish second in the AL West after the Tsunami that is the Los Angeles Dodgers swept over them. I thought it might be interesting to see what the D-backs have done over their 16 years compared to what the Blue Jays have done over their past 16 campaigns.Joe Root made a brilliant century as England dominated day one of the first Test against India, closing on 311-4. The England vice-captain put on 179 with Moeen Ali (99no) for the fourth wicket in Rajkot as India took just one wicket in 60.3 overs after lunch.Following a wicket-less afternoon session, the England pair went on the attack after tea as the Indian bowlers toiled before finally getting some reward when Umesh Yadav had Root controversially caught and bowled for 124. A pick of the action from the first day of the first Test between India and England in Rajkot A total of 311 looked a long way off at the start of the day as Alastair Cook, having won the toss and elected to bat, was dropped twice in the first two overs of the innings.The England skipper looked unusually tentative and was put down by Anjikya Rahane at gully on nought, pushing at Mohammed Shami delivery, before Virat Kohli grassed a tough chance at second slip, Yadav this time having induced the nick. While Cook was struggling, debutant Haseeb Hameed - the first teenager to play a Test for England since Ben Hollioake in 1997 - looked at ease from the off and twice pounced as Shami offered width to pick up a pair of boundaries.He also required some fortunate to survive the seamers impressive burst with the new ball though; Yadav finding the edge only for Murali Vijay to shell a routine chance at first slip.Cook eventually settled in and with Hameed producing a couple of beautiful cover drives against the spinners, the partnership had reached 47 when Ravindra Jadeja (1-59) struck with the first ball after drinks. Haseeb Hameed played well for his 31 on debut Having moved across his stumps, Cook (21) was rapped on the pads and up went the umpires finger. After a brief consultation with Hameed, the skipper mistakenly opted against reviewing with DRS projecting the ball would have gone on to miss leg stump.Hameed moved on to 31 and looked well-placed to push on. That did not take into account Ravichandran Ashwin, who was beginning to find his rhythm and trapped the 19-year-old lbw from around the wicket. Root rarely looked troubled before his dismmissal for 124 Ben Duckett (13) came in and looked to hit Ashwin (2-108) off his length, smashing three boundaries in an over, but the off-spinner had the final word; Duckett well caught by Rahane at slip from the last ball before lunch.dddddddddddd.From 102-3, Root and Ali negotiated the afternoon session perfectly, rotating the strike at will with Root, in particular, taking advantage of the unusually frequent full tosses that came his way. The 100 partnership and Englands 200 came up soon before tea with Root, having survived an extremely close lbw review from Yadav on 91, and Ali just short of their century and half-century, respectively.Ali was first to bring up his milestone after the interval, going to his ninth Test fifty from 99 balls.Then came Roots moment. The Yorkshire batsman going to his 11th Test century - his first in Asia - with a typically well-executed paddle sweep for two.The runs were starting to flow, Ali driving with conviction and Root reverse sweeping Ashwin for four, not long after having thumped the ball back over Jadejas head for six. Joe Root was dismissed after being controversially caught and bowled by Umesh Yadav When the breakthrough did eventually come, it was not without controversy. Root punching the ball back to Yadav (1-68), who appeared to lose control of the ball as he threw it up to celebrate.The England No 3 stood his ground and the decision was sent upstairs. However, after a soft signal of out was given on the field, there was no evidence to compel the third umpire to overturn what was essentially a judgement call. Moeen Ali will resume on 99no on day two Roots dismissal led to a sharp drop in the run rate for the remainder of the session although Ben Stokes (19no) did ensure the 300 came up in style, charging Ashwin and depositing the ball over long on for a maximum.Ali had the opportunity to go to three figures in the final over but failed to get the desired connection with another full bunger from Amit Mishra and will resume on day two just one shy of his fourth Test match ton.Live coverage of the first Test between India and England continues on Sky Sports 2 and across selected mobile devices. Watch the complete Test for £10.99 with no contract, with a Week Pass from NOW TV. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys 2018 NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys China
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