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Updated: September 20th, 2011 10:12pm
Twins Daily: Despite loading bases in ninth, Twins lose 94th game

Twins Daily: Despite loading bases in ninth, Twins lose 94th game

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- With a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins lost their 10th consecutive game and inched closer to tallying triple-digit losses on the season.

The skinny

The Twins had a shot.

Trailing by a run heading into the bottom of the ninth, Rene Tosoni and Ben Revere each singled, and Trevor Plouffe reached safely on a sacrifice bunt attempt when Mariners closer Brandon League fired low to first base.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, the middle of the order simply needed to hit a ball to the outfield.

But Michael Cuddyer went down swinging, Chris Parmelee bounced weakly to first base for a fielder's choice, and Danny Valencia grounded out to third base to end the game.

"I didn't get the job done," Cuddyer said. "You can't strike out with the bases loaded, and I did. ...

"I'll take that one tonight, because I didn't come through."

The night didn't exactly get off to an inspiring start for right-hander Liam Hendriks, who served up extra-base hits to three of the first four batters he faced -- a triple by Ichiro, and doubles by Kyle Seager and Mike Carp, as the Mariners jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

The Twins (59-94) answered back immediately with RBI doubles by Plouffe and Chris Parmelee in the bottom of the first, then took the lead courtesy of an RBI single by Ben Revere in the fourth and another RBI single by Parmelee in the fifth.

While the Twins temporarily took control of the game, Hendriks simultaneously settled down -- until the top of the sixth, when a two-run blast by Alex Liddi tied the game 4-4. Hendriks was pulled immediately after the blast, having officially thrown 5 1/3 innings allowing four earned runs on 10 hits, striking out five and walking nobody.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't end up finishing the game off," Hendriks said. "I've got to take credit for that. I was out there with a two-run lead, and with one pitch it just diminished."

The Mariners scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh when Adam Kennedy beat out an infield single with two outs that allowed Seager to score from third.

It now appears as if 100 losses has become a likely reality for the Twins.

Turning point

In a 4-4 game with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Mariners threatened with runners on the corners.

Left-hander Brian Duensing induced a weak tapper off the bat of Kennedy to the first-base side of the mound, but because the momentum of his motion took him the other direction, the left-hander was relegated to making an awkward dive just to knock the ball down.

By the time Duensing scrambled and tossed to first base, Kennedy sprinted to the bag safely allowing Seager to score the go-ahead run.

Bad luck, and right in line with how the rest of the season has gone for the Twins.

Numbers game

4: Wins needed in the final nine games for the Twins to avoid 100 losses. "Anybody's that got pride doesn't want 100 losses," Cuddyer said. "I mean, you don't want 99 losses either."

7: Extra-base hits for the Mariners on Tuesday -- this coming from a team that ranks last in the major leagues in slugging percentage.

5: Hits for Mariners' left fielder Carp, marking the first five-hit game of his career.

2: Doubles for Plouffe, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

4: Hits for Ben Revere, who raised his batting line to .264/.311/.298 on the season.

Overheard

"He definitely let it drop, no question. ... It's gutsy. It hit the wall, or short-hopped the wall. ... But yeah, it's his call, and obviously he made the right one."
-- Cuddyer, talking about a foul ball he hit down the right-field line during his ninth-inning at-bat against League. Right fielder Ichiro appeared to have a play but let the ball drop in foul territory to avoid letting Tosoni tag from third base.

Health report

• RHP Scott Baker (elbow) was officially activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and he will be available out of the bullpen for the rest of the year.

• OF Denard Span (migraine/concussion symptoms) went through batting practice and pre-game workouts with the team on Tuesday, and it's likely he will play in a game before the end of the week. Gardenhire said he won't play Span for a full nine innings, but plans to give the outfielder a couple at-bats.

• 2B Alexi Casilla tested out his hamstring on Monday but still felt some discomfort. There was hope that he'd be able to play in this week's series against the Mariners, but his status for the rest of the season now looks bleak.

On deck

Right-hander Kevin Slowey (0-6, 6.51) looks to turn things around on Wednesday (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when he faces Mariners' right-hander Michael Pineda (9-10, 3.72).

Pineda will make his final start of the season on Wednesday, as the Mariners continue with their plan to manage his workload. Pinedia allowed three earned runs on five hits in eight innings to the Royals in his last start on Sept. 10, and despite slowing down a bit over the final two months, the 22-year-old righty has shown that he will be a force for the foreseeable future. Pineda has whiffed 171 batters in 167 innings while walking only 53.

Slowey's return to the starting rotation has not gone well. Although he did pitch back-to-back solid games on Aug. 29 and Sept. 4 against the White Sox and Angels, Slowey owns a 7.24 ERA with seven home runs allowed in 32 1/3 innings over six starts. Not good.

Coming up

• Thursday: vs. Mariners, 12:10 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-7, 4.52) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (5-5, 3.92)
• Friday: @ Indians, 6:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.40) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (12-10, 3.15)
• Saturday: @ Indians, 12:05 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (1-5, 4.81) vs. LHP David Huff (2-6, 4.20)
• Saturday: @ Indians, 6:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (9-9, 4.77) vs. TBD

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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