Twins Catch A Break, Get A Win
SEATTLE (AP) — It took 25 innings for the Minnesota Twins to finally snap their scoreless skid.
And when they did, the Twins took advantage of the kind of break they haven’t been getting during a rough start.
Joe Mauer’s two-out RBI single in the seventh inning helped the Twins rally for a 3-2 win on Friday night, handing the Seattle Mariners their seventh straight loss.
The Twins scoreless streak started last Monday against the Los Angeles Angels and wasn’t finally broken until Denard Span’s fielder’s choice in the seventh inning scored Chris Pamelee.
Minnesota then got a break when Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen made a costly throwing error that allowed the first run to score and eventually led to Mauer’s single that scored Trevor Plouffe with the winning run.
Two days after being no-hit by Angels’ ace Jered Weaver, the Twins finally got something good to go their way.
“We just wanted to get back out there and bang the ball around,” said Twins bench coach Scott Ullger, filling in for manager Ron Gardenhire. “You just want to get back out there and play.”
Minnesota was on the verge of being shut out for a third straight game for the first time in three decades. They snapped a 0-for-47 streak as a team when Jamey Carroll singled in the first inning, then broke their scoreless string in the seventh. The late rally also backed six efficient innings by starter Carl Pavano and made Seattle pay for the one throwing mistake.
Wilhelmsen replaced Seattle starter Jason Vargas with one out in the seventh and walked Alexi Casilla and Plouffe to load the bases. Wilhelmsen looked as if he was going to get out of the inning when Denard Span tapped back to the mound, but instead of throwing home for the force out, Wilhelmsen threw wide of second. Everyone was safe because of the errant throw and Parmelee scored.
“I had a brain (lapse) and a pretty important one,” Wilhelmsen said.
Jamey Carroll followed with a grounder wide of first and the only play was a force out of Span at second, allowing Casilla to score the tying run. That was it for Wilhelmsen, who was showered with boos as he was replaced by Charlie Furbush to face Mauer. On a 3-1 pitch, Mauer grounded back up the middle. The bouncer glanced off Brendan Ryan’s stretched glove and trickled onto the outfield grass to score Plouffe.
Pavano had done his part, throwing just 69 pitches to get through six innings and be in line for his second victory. With Pavano sitting for a long time during the seventh inning, the Twins went to their bullpen and they were perfect.
Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins rolled through the seventh and eighth innings. Matt Capps entered in the ninth, striking out Ichiro Suzuki on a split-finger pitch to start the inning, then retiring the final two batters for his fifth save in as many chances.
“We needed that. We banged the ball around a lot. We didn’t come up with the timely hits like we wanted, but we took advantage of the one mistake they made which is nice to do,” Pavano said. “It’s a break that went our way that we haven’t seen in a while.”
Seattle lost by one run for the fourth time in five games and only once got to Pavano. Slugging rookie Jesus Montero started Seattle’s fifth-inning rally with a double off the wall in deep left-center field as the pitchers in the Mariners’ bullpen waved frantically for the ball to carry over the fence. It didn’t, but Montero was jogging home one pitch later when Kyle Seager sliced a double into the left-center field gap to give Seattle the lead.
After Justin Smoak flew out to center field, Mike Carp lined a double over Ryan Doumit’s head in right field to score Seager. Carroll was able to keep another run from scoring when his diving stop held Ryan to an infield single and Carp stopped at third. Dustin Ackley then flew out to end the inning.
“We’ve gone through a lot this last week,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “Look at all these tight ballgames. They will be better and stronger for it and wiser for it.”
Notes: Ackley was 1 for 3 in his first game as the Mariners leadoff hitter. Before Friday’s game, Wedge announced that veteran Chone Figgins was being benched … Gardenhire returned to Minnesota following the series against the Angels to attend the graduation of his daughter Tara from Southwest Minnesota State University. Gardenhire will rejoin the team on Monday.
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