Twins Daily: Rene Tosoni's walk-off double snaps 11-game losing streak
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins shot themselves in the foot multiple times on Thursday, but Rene Tosoni came through with a walk-off hit to cap a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
The slow march to 100 losses subsided for at least a day.
Tosoni's two-out RBI double off Steve Delabar in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Trevor Plouffe from first base to snap an 11-game losing streak for the Twins (60-95), who are desperately trying to avoid triple-digit losses.
"A win. A win is very nice," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's nice to shake hands. ... I don't even know where to go. ...
"Today was really entertaining to say the least. 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 the bottom line is we got a win."
Prior to the game-winning hit, the Twins had put five runners on base via walk, hit or error in the eighth and ninth innings but failed to plate any of them. It looked as if the Mariners -- who stranded 12 baserunners of their own -- were set to take the game to extra innings.
"Two balls no strikes, guy on first, you're just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere, so hopefully it gets in the gap and he can score from first," said Tosoni who went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the game. "But you just don't want to make an out. You want baserunnres, you want to keep that inning going. So that's all I was trying to think."
Twins' starter Anthony Swarzak struggled early, allowing two runs on six hits in the first two innings, but he settled down to pitch four scoreless frames after that before exiting. Swarzak struck out four, walked two and threw 97 pitches in six innings.
Trailing 2-0, the Twins scored a run in the third when Tosoni crossed home plate on a groundball double play ball hit by Drew Butera. Butera redeemed himself with a two-out RBI single in the fifth to tie the game.
It looked like the Twins were going to squander their chance in the ninth when Danny Valencia was thrown out trying to steal second base for the second out.
The batter, Plouffe, missed a hit and run sign on the play, but he eventually drew a walk, setting the table for Tosoni.
Minus points for missing a sign, but credit Plouffe for getting on base.
"On my double to left field, they were kind of fading me to left-center," Tosoni said. "So when I hit it to right-center I felt like there was no one there. So I was just hoping that Plouffe was running so we could get this game over with."
3: Consecutive games in which the Twins have failed to score a run in an inning where they had a runner on third base and nobody out. In this case, a bizarre eighth inning looked promising at first for the Twins, but offensive and baserunning ineptitude reared its head again. Pinch-hitter Matt Tolbert drew a walk to start the inning, and Ben Revere followed with a slow-rolling single up the middle. Center fielder Trayvon Robinson's throw to third base was late trying to get Tolbert, but third baseman Kyle Seager fired to second to gun down Revere -- an extremely ill-advised baserunning decision considering the situation. The Twins still had a runner on third base with only one out for Brian Dinkelman, who dribbled a ball toward drawn-in first baseman Mike Carp. But Carp inexplicably booted the easy grounder, allowing the Twins' potential rally to continue. But Michael Cuddyer ended the threat by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. This marked the third straight game the Twins failed to score a runner from third base with nobody out.
0-for-27: The streak put together by Twins catchers until Butera's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
1: Errant throws by Plouffe. Catcher Butera had Seager picked off at second base, but Plouffe threw high over Danny Valencia's head allowing Seager to reach third base safely.
• OF Denard Span (migraine/concussion symptoms) took Thursday off, but he said he hopes to play Friday. Span will play and/or rest based on how he feels each day.
• C Joe Mauer, out for the season with Pneumonia, remains at home per doctor's instructions. It's possible he could return to the clubhouse Monday for the team's final home series of the season.
• OF Jason Kubel (sprained foot) will likely travel with the team to Cleveland this weekend, but he's only available to pinch hit in emergency situations.
Right-hander Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.40) draws right-hander Justin Masterson (12-10, 3.15) for the second time this week as the Twins open a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians on Friday night (6:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN).
Pavano enters the game having allowed a career-high and league-leading 247 hits this season, but that number is somewhat deceiving. Pavano has induced at least 12 groundballs in eight of his last nine starts, which is what the Twins signed him to do. ON top of that, Pavano has issued only four walks in his last five starts.
Masterson has stalled out a bit in September, although he's still in line for by far the best season of his career.
• 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. TBD vs. RHP Mitch Talbot (2-6, 6.33)
• Sunday: @ Indians, 12:05 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-2, 6.23) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (7-15, 5.23)