Twins 10, Orioles 9, 10 innings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—A potential game-ending strikeout was the catalyst for an incredible comeback by the Minnesota Twins.
Michael Restovich reached on a throwing error to tie the game with two outs in the ninth—after it appeared he had struck out to end it—and Jacque Jones’ single in the bottom of the 10th gave the Twins a 10-9 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
Minnesota trailed 9-8 with runners at first and second and two out in the ninth when Restovich struck out against Jorge Julio. But catcher Brook Fordyce couldn’t handle the pitch, which rolled to the backstop.
Restovich, not knowing the ball got away, stood at home plate for several seconds before hearing his teammates telling him to run to first.
“I turned around and saw it, so I took off,” Restovich said. “I thought I had taken too long.”
Fordyce had time to make a play, but his throw bounced in front of first baseman Jeff Conine, who couldn’t handle it. Restovich reached base and Doug Mientkiewicz, who began the play at second, raced in with the tying run.
“It was a fastball up that looked like it may have cut on him a little bit,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. “It got by him and he couldn’t find it, then he tried to be too careful with the throw and short-hopped it. Jeff couldn’t handle it.”
Cristian Guzman led off the 10th with a single off Travis Driskill (3-4) and advanced to second when center fielder Luis Matos bobbled the ball for an error. Shannon Stewart walked, and Luis Rivas moved both runners with a bunt.
Mientkiewicz was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Orioles manager Mike Hargrove instructed right fielder Jay Gibbons to play as a fifth infielder.
Jones hit a high chopper that bounced over Gibbons into right field.
“A lot of things happened in that game that I’ve never seen,” Stewart said.
LaTroy Hawkins (9-3) pitched two shutout innings for the victory.
Minnesota trailed 9-5 after six innings but scored twice in the seventh and twice in the ninth. A.J. Pierzynski’s RBI single in the ninth brought the Twins within a run.
On the day they traded ace Sidney Ponson to San Francisco, the Orioles turned to their bats and their bullpen to come within one out of a victory.
Baltimore had 16 hits and used seven relievers in the game.
Trailing 5-3, the Orioles went ahead with a four-run sixth. Cruz’s two-run double tied it, and Machado followed with an RBI single. Jeff Conine added a sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Jay Gibbons hit his 17th homer of the season leading off the seventh, and Brian Roberts’ RBI single gave Baltimore a 9-5 lead.
Minnesota scored twice in the bottom of the inning on Stewart’s RBI double and a groundout by Rivas.
The Twins won despite leaving 20 runners on base—at least one in every inning.
Minnesota starter Kenny Rogers gave up seven runs—tying a season-high— and 10 hits in five-plus innings.
The Orioles’ Jason Johnson wasn’t much better, giving up 11 hits, all singles, in 4 1-3 innings. Johnson tied his season high by giving up five runs, and the Twins could have scored even more but left 10 runners on base in the first five innings.
“It was just bad luck,” Johnson said of the wild game. “That’s just the way the game is. It’s nobody’s fault. We’re a team, so if anything, the team is at fault.”
Cruz’s three-run homer off Rogers in the fourth gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead.
The Twins tied it in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Stewart and Rivas. They took a 5-3 lead in the fifth on Cristian Guzman’s RBI single and Rivas’ sacrifice fly.
Rogers got his 1,500th career strikeout by fanning Conine in the fifth inning. … Rivas’ speed got the Twins their first run. He beat out an infield hit, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored when Jacque Jones grounded to second and Rivas beat Roberts’ throw home. … Stewart was hit on the left hand by Johnson’s pitch in the fifth inning. He appeared to be in pain but stayed in the game after being checked by Twins trainer Jim Kahmann. He later made a great diving catch of Jose Leon’s foul fly in the seventh. … The Orioles moved pitcher Willis Roberts from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. Robertshas a slight ligament tear in his right elbow.