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Gardenhire: I’ll take my chances with Joe Mauer

FILE - Starting pitcher Carl Pavano #48 and

FILE - Starting pitcher Carl Pavano #48 and catcher Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins walk to the dugout prior to game two of the ALDS game against the New York Yankees. (Oct. 7, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Twins sure could use some timely hitting by Joe Mauer.

The Twins catcher, who ended the regular season batting .327, is hitting just .222 (2-for-9) through the first two games of the ALDS. But manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t looking to make excuses – or to put the blame on his catcher.

“I think it's got to be an effort all the way up and down our lineup," said Gardenhire. "We're missing a lot of opportunities to get big hits. And it's not just Joe Mauer. He does pretty good. He'll get his hits here and there. Get some baserunners on in front of him might help. I'll take my chances with Joe Mauer walking to the plate. He'll do it more times than not. It has to be all up and down the lineup. We've missed a lot of chances here. You can't do that against these teams. We've seen it over and over again. You miss your opportunities, they take advantage. They end up beating you. We have to -- all the way up and down the lineup, have to come up with some big hits.”

Mauer -- who signed a $184 million, eight-year contract extension in March – continues to be bothered by inflammation in his left knee. But the manager said he'll continue to catch in the playoffs, "no matter how he's feeling."

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