Often-injured Buxton almost taken down . . . by a racing bratwurst

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MILWAUKEE – Byron Buxton heard Pablo López yell out to him, reminding him to bring Max Kepler's glove when he ran to the outfield, and as he stepped out of the dugout in the middle of the sixth inning Tuesday, he saw Milwaukee's famous sausage race about to barrel into him.

Buxton avoided a potential collision, spinning back toward the dugout railing and narrowly missing one of the runners dressed as the bratwurst mascot.

"Just like a normal inning, I get ready to turn around and it was like I'm going to have to take a charge if I can't get out the way," Buxton said. "Luckily, he wasn't running as fast as I thought he was."

Ryan Jeffers joked with Buxton afterward, noting Buxton was a Sheboygan Sausage spokesman.

"We said Buck almost got Bratwursted," Jeffers said.

It was Buxton's first close-call encounter, he said, with some type of mid-inning entertainment.

"Normally, they stop before the dugout like at our place," Buxton said. "We do ours in the fifth inning, and they stop way before you get to the dugout. It's like you never have to worry about that. I'm so focused on the game, getting Kep his glove, I'm not worrying about the outside stuff. Kind of scared me."

Randall Simon, a former Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman, famously was suspended three games and fined for disorderly conduct when he stuck out a bat and tripped two of the racing sausages in 2003.

A debate over calling pitches

Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli came out of the dugout to chat with home-plate umpire Clint Vondrak in the ninth inning after Brewers closer Abner Uribe called a timeout to adjust the PitchCom device in his hat during an at-bat against Carlos Santana.

Joe Ryan was called for a pitch clock violation Saturday when he couldn't hear his PitchCom because the clock was already down to five seconds. Baldelli was told umpires couldn't show discretion when the pitch clock was that low even if the PitchCom device was malfunctioning.

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Baldelli thought Uribe's PitchCom device worked fine, but he couldn't hear it over the sellout crowd, which grew louder when the Twins reached their final out.

"You could see him touching it, trying to push the volume up," Baldelli said. "I just talked to Clint – he's an easy umpire to work with and talk to. I said, 'It's not necessarily our problem that he can't hear. I think his PitchCom was fine.' He goes, 'He said that it wasn't working,' so he has to take his word for it at that one.

"He was trying to fix it at 10 seconds or whatever it was, roughly, so I just wanted to make that point because we did have an issue with the PitchCom and us being held accountable and a ball being called the other day."

Etc.

* Kepler returned to the Twins lineup Tuesday after he missed two games because of a bone bruise on his right knee and lined a single to left field in his first at-bat. Kepler was cleared to play, Baldelli said, after an off-day workout at the team's hotel in Milwaukee.

* Yonny Hernández belted a three-run homer in the eighth, giving Nashville a 5-4 home victory over the Saints.