Late-game meltdown sends Twins to 10-6 loss vs. Mariners

A pair of pinch hitters inflicted a lot of pain on the Twins and Mariners on Tuesday night. One of them literally.

Cal Raleigh smacked the first pinch grand slam the Twins have given up in nine seasons, turning a Twins lead into a two-run deficit.

But Austin Martin's dive into first base while pinch hitting an inning later caused Seattle pitcher Tayler Saucedo to stumble awkwardly over first base, and the game-tying run scored while Saucedo writhed on the ground in pain, the ball in his glove.

Ultimately, though, the Mariners turned a leadoff triple by Dylan Moore into a four-run ninth, and the Twins lost for only the second time in 15 games, 10-6 at Target Field.

Ryan Jeffers smacked a three-run homer for the Twins, and Mitch Haniger hit a solo shot for the Mariners. But it was the strangeness of the Twins' game-tying rally in the eighth that overshadowed the biggest meltdown thus far by a Twins bullpen that has been one of the team's strengths.

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Saucedo entered the game with a 6-5 lead, and immediately gave up Max Kepler's second double of the night. After Carlos Correa popped up for the first out, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli sent Martin up to hit for Alex Kirilloff, 0-3 on the night. Martin worked the count to 3-2, and then hit a soft grounder to first baseman Ty France, who was positioned almost halfway between first and second base.

Saucedo got a late start toward first base, and Martin beat him there, diving head-first into the bag. As Martin slid past, Saucedo seemed unsure of his footwork, and he collapsed to the ground a step past the bag. As he laid face-down in the dirt, in visible pain, Kepler rounded third base and reached the plate before France could retrieve the ball from Saucedo's glove.

The pitcher was eventually walked off the field with his arm around a Mariners' trainer, as many in the announced crowd of 14,710 applauded.

There wasn't much cheering a few moments later, when Seattle scored three runs off Jorge Alcala, who allowed Moore's triple, three singles, a walk and a wild pitch.

The Mariners' four runs were the first earned runs Alcala has allowed this year. In all, Twins relievers gave up eight runs over four innings.

BOXSCORE: Seattle 10, Twins 6

The biggest blow, which turned a two-run Twins lead into a two-run deficit, was Raleigh's 445-foot grand slam off Steven Okert into the third deck in left field. Raleigh became the 12th pinch hitter ever to hit a grand slam against Twins' pitching, and the first since Cleveland's Jerry Sands victimized Blaine Boyer on Aug. 8, 2015.

Bailey Ober allowed only two runs on three hits and no walks, while striking out seven. But he had uncharacteristic difficulty in finishing off hitters, with six different at-bats extending to seven or more pitches. They added up, because Ober reached 84 pitches, tying his second-busiest outing of the year, after only five innings.

Ober left with a 4-2 lead, but Jay Jackson and Okert turned it into a deficit with a four-run seventh.

Mitch Carver reached on a hot-smash single that Carlos Correa reached, but too late to throw him out. Luis Arias singled Garver to third with one out, and Jackson walked Dylan Moore. Baldelli replaced Jackson with Okert, a lefthander, and Mariners manager Scott Servais sent up Raleigh, who delivered his eighth home run of the season.