Bullpen falters badly as Twins collapse in 10-6 loss to Seattle

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-hit 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 against Jorge Alcala, who had not allowed an earned run yet this year, and the Twins lost for only the second time in 15 games, 10-6 at Target Field.

"We didn't play the kind of baseball we've been playing. We didn't play a complete game," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We gave up eight runs in the last three innings of the game. It's just a combination that is not going to work."

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.

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, Baldelli sent Martin up to hit for Alex Kirilloff, 0-for-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.

"After I hit the ball, I kind of saw where [France] was. And [Saucedo] is a lefty, so he had a hard time getting off the mound quickly," Martin said. "I was kind of smelling the hit right there."

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Martin beat Saucedo to the bag, diving headfirst. Though they made no contact, as Martin slid past, Saucedo seemed unsure of his footwork, and he collapsed to the ground a step past the bag. As he lay facedown in the dirt, in visible pain, Kepler headed for the plate before France could retrieve the ball from Saucedo's glove.

"I just heard Tommy [Watkins, the third base coach] behind me, going, 'Go, go, go!'" Kepler said. "In the midst of it, it's kind of a [jerk] move to go when a guy is hurt, so I hope whatever happened to Saucedo, he's not doing too poorly."

"You'll take runs any way you can. But it's not a spot you want to see anyone," Baldelli concurred. "You've got to keep running until the play is over. Not something you hope to see all the time, though."

BOXSCORE: Seattle 10, Twins 6

The pitcher was eventually walked off the field, as many in the announced crowd of 14,710 applauded. After the game, Seattle manager Scott Servais said Saucedo suffered a right knee injury that will keep him out for some time.

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

But the Mariners' 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 one walk, while striking out seven. But he had uncharacteristic difficulty in finishing off hitters, with six 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.