CINCINNATI -- Twins closer Matt Capps understands the decision the team has made to keep him out of games the last week. That doesn't mean he likes it.
Capps made his first appearance since suffering inflammation in his right shoulder on June 15 in the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-0 loss against Cincinnati. He threw 23 pitches while allowing one unearned run on one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
"I threw all of my pitches," Capps said after the game. "I threw sinkers, a couple of splits and a couple of sliders. The biggest thing, always, when you're beat up or banged up is how it is going to feel the first time in a game. You can throw as many bullpens and as many times on the side as you want to, but you can't simulate that atmosphere and that game environment. To get that first one is pretty good."
Manager Ron Gardenhire repeated the refrain he's sung the last week.
"We're trying to give him as many days as we possibly can," Gardenhire said before Saturday's game. "We know he wants to pitch. He will never not take the ball, but we're trying to give him as many days as we can to make sure he's good. We've been able to do that and that hasn't changed."
Capps leads the Twins with 14 saves, but it was Glen Perkins who got his second save of the season by striking out the final two batters with runners on first and third in Friday night's 5-4 win against the Reds.
"You see guys out there busting their tail and you see guys out there working and you want to be out there with them," Capps said. "You want to be out there competing with them. You come back in here after a good team win and you want to feel like you contributed and did something, but for the last week I haven't been able to do that."
Mauer back in starting lineup at first base
CINCINNATI -- Joe Mauer woke up Saturday morning feeling well enough to play. That was all Twins manager Ron Gardenhire needed to hear before writing Mauer's name into the starting lineup Saturday against Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.
Mauer was playing first base and batting third in the second game of this three-game series.
Mauer has not played the field since June 17 against Milwaukee when he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and suffered a bruised right thigh. He pinch-hit in Friday night's 5-4 victory against the Reds, drawing a walk in the decisive two-run sixth inning. Pitcher Liam Hendriks pinch-ran for Mauer.
"I woke up [Saturday] and felt good enough to go. I'm excited about getting back in there," said Mauer before the game. "I think what I did earlier [Friday] helped. I've been available to pinch-hit the four games that I'd been out. I'd just woke up today and it felt like I could get back in there."
Mauer said he still has swelling in the thigh, but he is able to do everything he'll need to do to play in the field. Gardenhire said he could have put Mauer in to catch, but instead opted to give Justin Morneau a day off and keep Ryan Doumit behind the plate. Morneau is hitting just .236 this season and is just 3-for-14 on this current road trip.
"Morny needs a break," said Gardenhire. "He does all the things you're supposed to do as a player, but I can sense he's getting frustrated. He's funny. It's good comments, that Canadian accent, and it comes out pretty good in that dugout. This is a good break for him, a good day to give him a little bit of a break."
Former Red Burton thriving with Twins
CINCINNATI -- Jared Burton's perfect eighth inning of relief Friday night meant a little more to the Twins right-hander. For five seasons, Burton pitched in Cincinnati, but arthroscopic shoulder surgery limited him to just six appearances in 2011. The Reds left Burton off their 40-man roster last winter and he signed with Minnesota as a free agent.
All Burton has done for the Twins is appear in 30 games and help stabilize a bullpen that is second in the Major Leagues in innings pitched.
"It's rewarding to come to the field each and every day and know that I can be myself and that I'm healthy and strong," said Burton. "I've always had confidence in knowing what I can do, because I've done it before. It's just being healthy again."
Burton has pitched 29 innings and held opponents scoreless on 24 of his 30 appearances. He's allowed just one of nine inherited runners to score this season. The Twins have used him wisely -- he's only pitched on consecutive days three times this season.
"They know I had shoulder surgery last year," said Burton. "They want to make sure everyone stays as strong as possible, because it's still June."
• Ben Revere and Ryan Doumit each went 4-for-4 Friday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the fifth time the Twins have had two players each go 4-for-4 in the same game since the team moved to Minnesota. Joe Mauer and Danny Valencia were the last pair to accomplish the feat on July 26, 2010.
• Jamey Carroll scored the 500th run of his career Friday night. It also happened to be the winning run in the 5-4 victory. Carroll scored on a sacrifice fly by Revere in the sixth inning.
Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.