Twins end 11-game skid on Tosoni’s double in 9th
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Twins manager Ron Gardenhire kept his eye on the field, and on the 37,000-plus fans at Target Field.
He watched them squirm Thursday as Minnesota struggled through key spots against the Seattle Mariners for the third straight day. In the end, Gardenhire, the Twins and their crowd had reason to celebrate.
The Twins avoided another sweep and won for just the second time in 17 games. This was the third-longest skid in Minnesota’s 51-season history, behind a 14-game slide in 1982 and a 13-game drought in 1961, the first year the franchise moved from Washington.
“Today was very entertaining, to say the least,” Gardenhire said. “I’m honestly watching our fans get up and get down and have their hands on their heads, and I’m right there with them. But bottom line is we got a win.”
Trevor Plouffe(notes) drew a two-out walk from Steve Delabar(notes) (1-1) in the ninth and Tosoni followed with a drive that hopped off the right-field wall. Plouffe slid home, easily beating the relay. The Twins poured out of the dugout and mobbed Tosoni near second base.
“It’s been a while since we won a game, so of course we feel a little pressure, especially with the last couple of games having been so close,” Tosoni said. “I don’t think anyone’s pressing. We just have to let everything go, start playing some baseball and win some games.”
Tosoni had three hits and scored twice. The rookie began the day batting .174 in his first big league season.
“A pretty good day for him,” Gardenhire said. “We need it and it was a big one at the end. We’ve been waiting for that one for three days.”
Joe Nathan(notes) (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win after getting out of his own trouble. The Mariners stranded 12 runners, including the potential go-ahead run at third in the ninth when Wily Mo Pena(notes) flied out.
Both teams had their chances late in this one.
Tosoni’s hit ended the third straight one-run game between the two teams. The Mariners won the first two games of the series by 5-4 scores.
“Usually one of the last things to come for young hitters is hitting with runners in scoring position and particularly with two outs and runners in scoring position,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of his young team, which featured five rookies in the starting lineup.
“We had short spurts of that, but nothing consistent. That’s something we’ll have to do a much better job with next year, and I think we will,” he said.
NOTES: Minnesota C Drew Butera’s(notes) RBI single in the fifth inning snapped a personal 0-for-21 stretch. It was the first hit by a Twins catcher since Sept. 9, a string of 27 at-bats. … Seattle OF Casper Wells(notes) (nose) was going to see a doctor Thursday to further diagnose what is giving him sinus trouble. He’s expected to be with the team this weekend for a series at Texas. … Minnesota OF Denard Span(notes) (concussion) sat out after playing Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 13. Span told trainer Rick McWane he would prepare to play in Friday’s game at Cleveland. … The Mariners took their 13th walk-off loss of the season, setting a club record. … Seattle LHP Anthony Vasquez(notes) (1-4, 8.25) will be making his sixth career start on Friday in the opener at Texas. Vasquez lasted just three-plus innings in his last start also against Texas. He gave up five runs and seven hits and allowed home runs to Adrian Beltre(notes), Josh Hamilton(notes) and Elvis Andrus(notes). … Minnesota RHP Carl Pavano(notes) (8-13, 4.40) will make Friday’s start for the Twins in Cleveland. Pavano has lost his last two starts, including Sept. 18 against the Indians when he gave four runs—one earned—in 6 2-3 innings. Pavano is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts against Cleveland this season.
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