Twins 7, Padres 5, 11 innings

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—San Diego fans have seen plenty of big hits by Chris Gomez—just not against the Padres.

Gomez, who played for San Diego from 1996-2001, drove in three runs, including a two-out, two-run double in the 11th inning, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 7-5 win over the Padres on Friday night.

Gomez, a steady performer on two Padres teams that reached the postseason, stole the show in his first game against this former team.

“It’s always nice to get a big hit regardless of who it’s against,” he said.

Minnesota allowed the Padres to tie the game in the ninth and 10th innings.

“We didn’t do a very good job of holding the lead tonight,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But we didn’t get down and we hung in there.”

J.C. Romero (2-0) pitched the final two innings as the Twins handed San Diego its 31st loss in 39 games. The Padres dropped to 18-44, the worst record in the NL.

San Diego, 5-1 winners over Detroit on Thursday, hasn’t won consecutive games since taking three straight April 23-25.

Gomez’s timely hit came off Rod Beck (0-1), a line drive down the left-field line that scored Doug Mientkiewicz and A.J. Pierzynski to break a 5-5 tie.

Mientkiewicz was hit by Beck’s pitch with one out and advanced to second on a groundout. Pierzynski was intentionally walked, bringing up Gomez.

“I didn’t give in,” Beck said. “I threw him a splitter. It just didn’t work out.”

Minnesota was in an unfamiliar position because closer Eddie Guardado blew his first save of the season in 18 chances and had his club record of 24 consecutive saves snapped. Guardado entered in the ninth with a 4-1 lead.

“No closer, I don’t care who it is, is going to go the whole season and be perfect,” teammate Jacque Jones said. “We’re so used to Eddie picking us up. Tonight, we picked him up.”

The Padres scored three times in the ninth off Guardado, tying it at 4 on Ryan Klesko’s bloop double.

Jones, who went to high school in San Diego and lives here in the offseason, had a pair of RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the 10th.

Corey Koskie and Torii Hunter each drove in a run for Minnesota. Mientkiewicz reached base five times, going 3-for-4 with a walk and a hit by pitch, and scored twice.

“We can get a lift from a lot of different people,” Gomez said. “You saw that tonight because we had a lot of different people step up.”

The Padres tied the score at 5 in the 10th on a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch by Romero.

Rondell White led off the inning with a double. Brian Buchanan then lined a shot off Romero’s glove for an infield single.

Xavier Nady’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners and Gary Bennett was intentionally walked to load the bases. Romero struck out Lou Merloni to bring up Gary Matthews Jr., who hit a two-run, pinch-hit double in the ninth inning.

Romero threw a 2-2 pitch in the dirt that bounced away from Pierzynski, allowing White to tie the score at 5. Romero struck out Matthews on the next pitch.

Jones singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th on a bad-hop single to give Minnesota a 5-4 lead. The hit scored Pierzynski, who led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice by Gomez.

Buchanan led off the San Diego ninth with a double off the right-field wall against Guardado. He went to third on Nady’s single.

Guardado then struck out Bennett and got Merloni on a short fly to center, but Matthews pinch-hit and drove in both runners with a double to left-center.

“In that situation, you’re just trying to get the ball in play and see what happens,” Matthews said.

Klesko followed with a blooper off the end of his bat that dropped between second baseman Gomez and right fielder Bobby Kielty in shallow right field, scoring Matthews to tie it at 5.

“A typical Bruce Bochy team,” Gomez said of his former manager. “They just never give up.”

The Padres’ ninth-inning rally spoiled a solid effort by Twins starter Kenny Rogers, who limited San Diego to one run on five hits in seven innings.

Rogers gave up a run-scoring single to Mark Loretta in the fifth to cut the Twins’ lead to 2-1. Otherwise, the left-hander kept the Padres in check as hestruck out four and walked one.


Koskie was ejected by plate umpire Joe West in the seventh inning after being called out on strikes. … Gomez drew a loud ovation in his first at-bat. Gomez was an extremely popular player when he played for the Padres. … Padres 3B Sean Burroughs (bruised left forearm) was a late scratch, but entered the game in the 10th. … Attendance, boosted by a postgame fireworks show, was54,747.

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