MINNEAPOLIS -- After being shifted from the Twins' leadoff hitter to the club's No. 3 hitter on Sept. 1, Brian Dozier moved into the two-hole against the Rays on Saturday night at Target Field.
It marked the first time he's been the team's No. 2 hitter since July 10, and just the 11th time this season. Ryan Doumit, who is hitting .283 with a .338 on-base percentage against lefties this year, hit third in the lineup with left-hander Matt Moore on the mound for the Rays.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he believes Dozier has the potential to be a solid No. 2 hitter moving forward, but has had to move him around the lineup because the club has lacked a true leadoff hitter throughout most of the year.
"I think he fits there," Gardenhire said. "We've had to maneuver a few things around with a couple guys gone. So I decided to go this way today. Doumit actually has good numbers against lefties with a good on-base percentage."
After a slow start to the year, Dozier has been solid offensively, as he leads all Major League second baseman with 26 extra-base hits since the All-Star break entering play Saturday. He also leads the American League with 26 doubles since June 16, which is the second-highest total in the Majors. And he's been playing just about every day recently, as his last day off was July 31.
"He's a good player," Gardenhire said. "He's figured out the game a little bit. He's playing like himself now. If he needs to drop a bunt down, he can do that. He's a good baserunner. And just comes to play every day. He's a little beat up, but he doesn't want to take a break out there."
Gardy evaluating Presley's defensive prowess
MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Presley has taken over as the everyday center fielder since the Twins acquired him in the trade that sent Justin Morneau to the Pirates, which has given Twins manager Ron Gardenhire a chance to evaluate his defense in center.
Presley made his 13th start in center field for the Twins against the Rays on Saturday, after making 80 starts in center for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate. Gardenhire said Presley has fared all right, but he wants to see more of him in center before he makes a full evaluation.
"It's pretty decent," Gardenhire said. "I haven't seen enough. I want to see more. I want to see his jumps and how he moves. He's new to this league, so he doesn't know the hitters, so there's times where we'll be playing step-pull with a right-hander, but he's on the first-base side. So just little things."
Presley hasn't made any spectacular defensive plays so far, and he misread a ball that ended up as a two-run triple for the A's Yoenis Cespedes on Thursday. So Gardenhire wants to see him make a few tough plays before he can make a definitive call on Presley's defensive prowess.
"It's all about watching him play," Gardenhire said. "He can hit, and he can catch balls you're supposed to catch, but let's see if he can make the plays the above-average guys can catch."
• The Twins struck out 11 times on Friday to mark the 55th time this year that they've struck out more than 10 times in a game. They've struck out 1,259 times this year, which is the highest total in franchise history dating back to their days as the Washington Senators.
• Trevor Plouffe entered Saturday's game hitting .360 in 12 games in September. His .360 batting average ranks seventh in the American League and 12th in the Majors. He's set career highs in hits (105) and doubles (21) this year.
• Entering Saturday's game, the bullpen remains one of the positive aspects for the Twins this year, as its 3.31 ERA ranks as the third-best mark in the American League and the sixth-best mark in the Majors.