Mariners 4, Twins 3, 16 innings

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SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle Mariners would rather win in nine innings.

Randy Winn scored on Scott Spiezio’s grounder in the 16th inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in the longest game in the major leagues this season.

“I don’t like ‘em,” Spiezio said. “But if we’ve got to play ‘em, I’d rather win ‘em. I hope we don’t have to play too many more of those. Win a whole bunch of games in nine and forget about these 16- and 14-inning games.”

Winn scored the winning run with none out when Spiezio hit a groundball to drawn-in first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, whose throw to catcher Henry Blanco was too late to get a sliding Winn.

Winn was hit by a pitch by Seth Greisinger (0-2), the eighth Minnesota pitcher, and Ichiro Suzuki singled Winn to third before Spiezio’s ground ball on a 1-2 pitch ended the game after 4 hours, 48 minutes, a minute longer than Seattle’s 2-1, 14-inning win over Oakland here April 19.

It was a close play, but plate umpire Marty Foster said Winn’s hand beat Blanco’s sweeping tag.

“The catcher made a heck of a play to make it close,” Winn said. “I think it was a call that could have gone either way. I think I was able to sneak my hand in there and touch the front part of the plate before he tagged me.”

Ron Villone (3-0), the seventh Seattle pitcher, pitched the final three innings.

At the end of the game, the Mariners’ bullpen was down to J.J. Putz.

“J.J. was ready, but I told B.P. (pitching coach Bryan Price) that I could have gone more if he needed me,” Villone said.

The loss prevented Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected from the game in the first inning, from getting his 200th career win as Minnesota’s manager.

Gardenhire watched the final play from the manager’s office on television. Gardenhire insisted Blanco blocked the plate from Winn’s hand.

“In all the replays I’ve seen, his (Winn’s) hand went in (Blanco’s) glove,” Gardenhire said. “It was just one of those nights.”

The Twins ran themselves out of two rallies in extra innings. In the 10th, Lew Ford was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Raul Ibanez when he attempted to score from second on Luis Rivas’ single.

In the 11th, Cristian Guzman, who reached on a fielder’s choice, was forced out at second when he mistakenly thought Mariners right fielder Suzuki had caught Mientkiewicz’s line drive and ran back toward first. Suzuki did not make the catch and threw to second for the easy out. Mientkiewicz was then picked off first by Mike Myers for the final out of the inning.

“Some unfortunate things happened that didn’t go our way and we lost,” Gardenhire said. “That’s the way the game is.”

The Twins tied the score at 3 against their former closer, Eddie Guardado, in the top of the ninth on Torii Hunter’s RBI double.

Hunter, who also homered, doubled to right with Guzman on second and Corey Koskie on first. Guzman scored, but Suzuki threw out Koskie at home to end the inning.

Koskie thought he was safe on the play and was thrown out by plate umpire Foster for arguing.

Hunter left the game after his double in the ninth when he re-injured his right hamstring. He was on the disabled list from April 7-24 with the injury.

“He has a bad hamstring,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

Seattle starter Jamie Moyer left after eight innings with a 3-2 lead, but Guardado, facing the Twins for the first time since signing with the Mariners as a free agent in December, blew his second save in six opportunities for the Mariners.

Moyer gave up two runs—on homers to Hunter and Guzman. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out three.

Before the game, the Mariners exercised manager Bob Melvin’s 2005 option despite a 9-16 start.

Minnesota starter Kyle Lohse pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, with four strikeouts. He also hit a batter.

Winn’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead.

Guzman homered off Moyer in the fourth to give Minnesota the early lead. But Ibanez hit a two-run homer, his sixth, off Lohse to make it 2-1.

Hunter led off the fifth with his second homer of the season to tie it.


Foster ejected Gardenhire two batters into the game. Foster called Guzman out on a ball he hit in front of the plate. Wilson, Seattle’s catcher, fielded the ball and tagged Guzman for the out. Gardenhire argued that the ball hit Guzman and was foul. It was Gardenhire’s first ejection of the season and the 12th of his three-year managing career. Batting coach Scott Ullger managed the Twins in Gardenhire’s absence. … Moyer has allowed seven homers this season. … Edgar Martinez of the Mariners went 1-for-6, with four strikeouts,three while swinging.

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