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Updated: June 24th, 2012 2:56pm
Willingham's blast off Chapman lifts Twins to series win over Reds

Willingham's blast off Chapman lifts Twins to series win over Reds

by The Associated Press
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CINCINNATI -- Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off shaky Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman, rallying the Minnesota Twins over the Reds 4-3 Sunday.

The skinny

Joe Mauer opened the ninth with a double off the left-field wall against Chapman (4-4). Willingham followed with his 15th homer of the season, a 438-foot drive into the second level in left.

In Chapman's previous outing, he gave up a game-ending, two-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the 10th inning at Cleveland last Tuesday.

Willingham's homer overcame Joey Votto's eighth-inning, two-run homer that had given the Reds a 3-2 lead.

Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond (6-3), who'd lost his last two starts, allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings. He struck out seven and also hit two batters, Votto and Brandon Phillips, with consecutive pitches in the third.

Former Reds pitcher Jared Burton worked the ninth for his first career save.

Reds starter Mike Leake allowed just five hits and no walks with five strikeouts in eight innings.

The loss left the NL Central leaders at 7-8 in interleague play this season and 104-131 all-time. The Twins finished 9-9 this year and are 157-125 all-time.

The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Devin Mesoraco's leadoff double down the left-field line, Leake's sacrifice and Wilson Valdez's two-out single.

Trevor Plouffe tied the score with his 15th homer of the season, a 385-foot drive to right-center field with one out in the fifth. The shot extended to 62 the number of consecutive games in which at least one home run has been hit at Great American Ball Park, the longest current streak in the majors.

The score was 1-all when Mauer lined Leake's first pitch of the seventh to right field for a single and Willingham followed with a double, setting up Justin Morneau's RBI groundout.

Valdez led off the eighth inning with an infield single. Votto followed with his 14th homer of the season, an opposite-field drive to left.

Numbers game

1: Extra-base hits given up to left-handed batters by Chapman this season -- Mauer's double.

2: Career opposite-field home runs for Plouffe

32: Days since a Twins starter pitched into the eighth inning

1: Career saves for Burton

Health report

Matt Capps appears headed to the disabled list with continued shoulder issues. Manager Ron Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN on Sunday Capps' shoulder was "not good" after throwing 23 pitches on Saturday.

On deck

Monday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (1-7, 5.74) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (6-3, 2.74)
Tuesday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-4, 7.39) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (5-7, 5.20)
Wednesday: vs. White Sox, 12:10 p.m., RHP Nick Blackburn (4-4, 7.45) vs. LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 2.24)

© The Associated Press