SAN DIEGO (AP)—Not even the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner or baseball’s career saves leader could stop the streaking Minnesota Twins.
Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher hit solo home runs on consecutive pitches against Trevor Hoffman in the ninth inning, and Minnesota beat the slumping San Diego Padres 3-1 Tuesday night for its seventh straight victory.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead against Jake Peavy, last season’s NL Cy Young winner, into the seventh inning before the Padres scored the tying run. The Twins then jumped on Hoffman, tops on the saves list with 539.
“It’s important to be able to scratch out a victory against a guy like (Peavy),” Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey said. “To be able to hang with him and then Trevor Hoffman, the greatest closer of all-time, it’s a big win.”
Harris connected on a first-pitch fastball after Hoffman (1-5) struck out his first two batters. Buscher, recalled from the minors June 13, also hit a fastball into the right-field seats for his first homer of the season.
“I was looking for a fastball because he got ahead of the first two guys with fastballs and then went right to the changeup,” Harris said. “I was hoping to put it in play and not have to hit the changeup.”
Minnesota couldn’t have picked a better situation to hit consecutive home runs for the first time since July 6, 2007.
“Harris hitting a home run and Buscher backing it up, that was just huge for us,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You know facing Hoffy, it isn’t going to happen very often. It’s exciting for our ballclub.”
When Hoffman got the final out in the ninth, he was serenaded with boos from the home crowd. Hoffman has given up five home runs in 26 innings. Last season, he allowed just two homers in 57 1-3 innings.
It was the eighth time in his career that Hoffman allowed two home runs in an outing. The last time he gave up back-to-back homers was Oct. 1, 2006.
Hoffman showed his frustration after the game by kneeing a chair out of the way in front of his locker to make room for the media.
Hoffman said he did not hear the boos. Asked if knowing that Padres fans booed him was frustrating, he replied, “I’m not worried about that right now. (Harris) put it out of the park. I’ve got to make better pitches.”
Peavy was upset that San Diego fans turned on Hoffman, who has 15 saves in 18 chances this season.
“I couldn’t believe that,” Peavy said. “That was as disheartening as disheartening gets. What Trevor means to this organization, the city and the club, to see him get booed after a tough outing, I felt that was uncalled for. I certainly don’t understand it. I hope that’s never the case again.”
The victory extended Minnesota’s longest winning streak in nearly two years. The Twins had an eight-game run in July 2006.
San Diego lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Denny Reyes (2-0) got the final out of the eighth inning for the win. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.
Since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester, Buscher is hitting .368 (14-for-38) with 13 RBIs and seven runs.
Slowey shut down the Padres on four hits over six scoreless innings. The right-hander struck out a season-high seven and did not walk a batter.
He retired 14 straight after allowing consecutive two-out singles in the first. The string was broken on Jody Gerut’s one-hop infield single that bounced off Slowey’s glove with one out in the sixth.
Peavy nearly matched Slowey but allowed a first-inning run on Michael Cuddyer’s RBI single. Peavy allowed one run and five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Twins slugger Justin Morneau, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Jesse Crain was protecting a 1-0 lead in the seventh when he took over for Slowey. Adrian Gonzalez led off with an infield single and went to second on a wild pitch. Kevin Kouzmanoff singled him to third and Gonzalez scored on Chase Headley’s groundout to tie the score.
Peavy made his third start since coming off the disabled list June 12. He had been sidelined with a strained elbow.
Peavy has the best home ERA in the majors at 1.29. He has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his seven home starts, including three outings in which he did not allow a run.
Hoffman has now faced every major league team. … It was the first time in seven games that the Twins’ starting pitcher did not get a win. In the last seven games, Minnesota’s starters are 6-0 with a 1.53 ERA. … Padres RF Brian Giles was back in the starting lineup for the first time since Friday. Giles had missed two starts due to a strained hamstring. … The Twins activated INF Nick Punto from the 15-day DL before the game and optioned INF Matt Macri to Triple-A Rochester.