Twins 2, Mets 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Jacque Jones heard his third-base coach yelling for him to stop.
It was too late. He was too far on his way to scoring the winning run.
“I was halfway down the line already and I was in no-man’s land, so I kept going,” Jones said.
Jones led off the ninth with a single off Mike Stanton (0-3). One out later, rookie Joe Mauer hit what appeared to be a double-play grounder, but shortstop Kaz Matsui misplayed the ball for an error leaving runners at first and second.
“Obviously it’s upsetting,” said Matsui, through an interpretor, about his 12th error of the season. “That error was one of the key plays and might have cost us the game.”
With the runners going on a full count, Cuddyer hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Ty Wigginton dived for and stopped. He threw to first, but Cuddyer was safe.
“I didn’t tell him to go—I was telling him to pick up the ball at first base,” third-base coach Al Newman said.
“I didn’t pick it up until I was halfway,” Jones said.
So, Jones kept running around third and first baseman Jason Phillips bounced his throw to the plate—allowing Jones to score the winning run.
“I just tried to throw as hard and quick as I could, but I didn’t have a good grip on the ball,” Phillips said.
“We gift-wrapped this one,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “He ran through the stop sign and was out from here to next week.”
Juan Rincon (7-3) struck out two in two perfect innings to give Minnesota its first back-to-back wins since winning five straight from May 11-15.
Tom Glavine allowed five hits and one run in eight innings for the Mets, who lost for just the third time in eight games.
“If you play this game long enough, you see a lot of crazy things happen,” Glavine said. “Unfortunately for us, his aggressiveness made the difference.”
The Twins have come from behind in 20 of their 31 wins and improved to 12-5 in games decided in the last at-bat.
“Last at-bats and ninth innings are exciting because the fans get into it and the P.A. guy plays ‘We Will Rock You,”’ Gardenhire said. “I don’t know why we don’t do that in the first inning.”
New York broke a scoreless tie in the fifth on Vance Wilson’s two-out RBI single off Brad Radke. With one out, Wigginton doubled to left center. After a walk and foul out, Wigginton scored on Wilson’s hard shot up the middle.
The Mets were still threatening with two outs and runners on second and third, but Radke struck out Matsui to end the inning.
Minnesota finally manufactured a run off Glavine in the seventh to tie it at 1. Torii Hunter led off with an infield single and moved to second on Jones’ sacrifice. Hunter then stole third after Matthew LeCroy walked, putting runners at the corners.
Mauer grounded into fielder’s choice to second, scoring Hunter.
The Twins threatened in the eighth, when Cristian Guzman singled and Lew Ford doubled to put runners at second and third with one out. But, the Mets brought the infield in and Corey Koskie hit a grounder to Wigginton, who threw Guzman out at the plate. Hunter then grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Radke allowed five hits and one run in seven innings, while striking out aseason-high seven and walking two.
The Mets recalled OF Gerald Williams from Triple-A Norfolk, and optioned second baseman Danny Garcia to Norfolk. … Glavine defeated the Twins 11-0 with the Braves on June 11, 2002, allowing two hits in seven innings. He was also 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two games against Minnesota in the 1991 World Series. … In Radke’s nine starts where he has gotten a loss or no decision this season, the Twins have given hime only nine runs of support. He’s 0-3 with 3.60 ERA in those games. … Cuddyer is 2-for-4 with three RBIs as a pinchhitter this season.