Joe Mauer received one more pitch as catcher for the Twins, and Minnesota likely said goodbye to the longtime face of its franchise during an emotional 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Mauer was playing the final game of an eight-year, $184 million contract. He doubled into the left-center gap with a line drive of Juan Minaya in his final at-bat.
The 2009 AL MVP then made a surprise appearance behind the plate in the ninth, his first time catching in a game since Aug. 19, 2013. He caught one pitch from Matt Belisle, then walked off to a final standing ovation and was replaced by Chris Gimenez.
Mauer is a three-time AL batting champ and six-time All-Star over 15 major league seasons, all with Minnesota. A three-sport star from St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Mauer was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft and made his debut with the Twins in 2004.
Max Kepler and Jake Cave homered for the Twins, and reliever Andrew Vasquez (1-0) earned the victory for the Twins with one perfect inning of relief. Trevor May replaced Belisle and got three straight outs with the tying run on second in the ninth to earn his third save.
The White Sox lost their 100th game of the year, the first time they've done so since 1970. Meanwhile, the Twins won their sixth straight game to end the season, giving them 78 victories - seven fewer than last year, when they were the AL's second wild card.
Dylan Covey (5-14) gave up five runs over six innings.
Kepler hit a two-run home, his 20th of the season, onto the plaza in right field in the sixth.