MINNEAPOLIS -- In the ninth and 10th innings of Friday's 8-7 loss to the Twins, Cubs manager Dale Sveum used a five-man infield, bringing Joe Mather in from left field to play near second base.
Had Mather ever done that before?
"The umpire asked me the same thing -- he asked me the second time out there, 'How many times have you done this?' and I said, 'Well, this is the second time,'" Mather said. "We had to do something kind of crazy."
Mather was technically still a left fielder even though he was standing at second base.
"I like 'rover,'" Mather said. "I don't know what you'd call that. I was on top of second base. I've never seen that alignment either. It was kind of a cool alignment."
In the ninth, it worked. The Twins had runners at first and third and one out. Alexi Casilla hit a grounder to the Cubs' real second baseman, Darwin Barney, and he threw home for the force. Brian Dozier then flied out to end the inning.
In the 10th, Mather moved in again with runners at first and third and one out, but Josh Willingham lined a single down the left-field line for the game-winner. The Cubs almost needed six infielders.
"Being able to go infield to outfield has obviously been good for my career," Mather said. "Even in dire situations, it's nice to have a guy like that."
Sveum made sure Mather knew what to do if the ball was hit to him.
"If he hit it hard, I would have tried to turn two," Mather said. "If there was any play at the plate, go home. The first time it worked out great."
The other Cubs infielders did their part to help.
"Starlin [Castro] was talking to me and Barney [was saying], 'Make sure you touch the bag,'" Mather said. "I had it."
Cubs pitching coach Bosio reflects on no-hitter
MINNEAPOLIS -- On Friday, six Mariners pitchers combined for a no-hitter. It was Seattle's first since current Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio did so on April 22, 1993, against the Red Sox.
Bosio's feat was pretty remarkable, considering he was pitching on three days' rest and had the flu.
Normally, Bosio would throw 38-40 pitches to warm up, but this time he cut it short.
"I threw my 25th pitch and tossed it in the stands and said, 'That's it,'" Bosio said Saturday.
He walked the first two batters he faced, but then settled down. Bosio said he wasn't even aware he had a no-hitter until the eighth inning, when one of his teammates told him. Bosio needed just 96 pitches to complete the game.
Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Iowa. Soto last played May 16 before being sidelined with a tear of the meniscus in his left knee.
Catcher Welington Castillo had two hits, including a two-run home run, in his first rehab game for Double-A Tennessee on Friday. Castillo, on the disabled list since May 19 with a sprained right knee, played first base and was expected to catch on Saturday.
Alfonso Soriano hit his 12th home run of the season, and third of the series, on Saturday, and now knows what he'll be doing next week.
"I told him he locked down the [designated-hitter] job for the White Sox series," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the upcoming Interleague series June 18-20 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Soriano belted a two-run homer in the eighth, launching the ball into the second deck in left. On Friday, he hit a solo shot to straightaway center and added a two-run blast to the third deck in left. His dozen homers since May 15 lead the Major Leagues.
"That is our one offensive bright spot," Sveum said. "He's been doing it now for three weeks solid. Hopefully that continues."
First baseman Anthony Rizzo hit his 18th home run for Triple-A Iowa on Friday, and first in his sixth game back since he missed one week with a sore right wrist. Rizzo leads the Pacific Coast League in homers.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.