Twins stumble in extra innings
MINNEAPOLIS — With San Diego given new life thanks to a rally in the top of the ninth inning and a great defensive play in the bottom half, Seth Smith made sure the Padres finished their comeback in style.
Smith blasted a 414-foot shot over the wall in right field for his 12th homer of the season in the top of the 10th inning, lifting the Padres to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday at Target Field.
“You feed off of that kind of stuff,” Smith said. “But when you get in the box, it’s an at-bat and you have to be able to calm yourself and approach it like any other at-bat.
“It’s nice to win a game like that. That was a good baseball game. Back and forth. Both teams were good today. It’s fun to win. Those are the games you need to win where it can go either way and you have to figure out as a team how to make it go in your direction.”Padres manager Bud Black said, “He’s got pull-power, especially against fastballs. He got a fastball and he hit it.”The Twins were three outs from taking the two-game series and winning all four games against the Padres this season.But closer Glen Perkins allowed a leadoff double to first baseman Yonder Alonso and a walk to catcher Rene Rivera. A sacrifice by Alexei Amarista moved both runners into scoring position and Alonso scored on a sinking sacrifice fly to right by shortstop Everth Cabrera.The double by Alonso came on the first pitch of the inning and put Perkins in a hole he couldn’t escape. The blown save was Perkins’ first since June 20 and third of the season.“I thought he was going to take a pitch. He didn’t take a pitch,” Perkins said. “I was trying to get ahead strike one. He jumped on a fastball and didn’t miss it.”In the bottom of the inning, Amarista saved the game, making a fantastic running catch in deep center to rob Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar of a walk-off hit.“No doubt, a game-saver,” Black said. “We were playing a little shallow, and especially 0-2, he got a good pitch to hit and hit it. Great jump, great route, great catch. It’s a great play, but I’m not surprised. We expect great plays out of Lexi.”Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, “When he hit it, I thought ‘game over.’ We just saw the whole outfield move in with two strikes and he moved way in. When that ball was hit, we thought he had no chance to run that one down.”Kevin Quackenbush got the win for San Diego despite allowing two walks in the ninth inning. Joaquin Beniot worked around a single and a walk in the 10th for his fourth save.Third baseman Trevor Plouffe knocked in three runs for Minnesota, blasting a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Twins an early advantage and knocking in another with an RBI single in sixth, breaking a 3-3 tie.San Diego struggled to do much of anything against Twins starter Kevin Correia in the early going, not even getting a runner on base until the top of the third inning. A one-out single by designated hitter Tommy Medica in the fourth inning ahead of an RBI double by second baseman Jedd Gyorko got the Padres on the board.An RBI single by Escobar in the fifth inning put the Twins ahead 3-1, but San Diego tied the score in the next half inning on a run-scoring double by Seth Smith and an RBI groundout by Medica.The Twins left 14 runners on base and went 3-for-16 at the plate with runners in scoring position.“I know we lost the game in the end, but we lost that one early,” Gardenhire said. “I don’t know how many chances we had early in the ballgame to score runs and missed opportunities, bases loaded, men out there and we couldn’t do anything. Leaving 14 out there doesn’t win you many games.”Correia was in line for the win until the ninth inning, allowing three runs, five hits and a walk in six innings.San Diego right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne recovered after a shaky first inning, allowing only two more runs in his final 4 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits and walked three but did not figure into the decision.NOTES: Twins 1B Joe Mauer will play first base Wednesday for Class A Cedar Rapids, his second game in a weeklong rehabilitation assignment. On the disabled list since July 2 with a strained oblique, Mauer was the designated hitter Tuesday. ... The Twins officially announced an agreement with Cedar Rapids to continue as a team affiliate through 2020. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday, his eighth home run of the season and first since July 18. ... Padres DH Tommy Medica knocked in two runs Wednesday and has driven in 11 in his last 11 games. He has 24 RBIs this season.