Joe Mauer hit his 100th home run in the 5th inning to power the Twins early, but it took a late RBI single from Ryan Doumit to put away the Washington Nationals 4-3 in 11 innings on Saturday afternoon.
The Nationals took an early lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning off Twins starter Kevin Correia. After the first two batters were retired, Denard Span singled to right field, and this brought up Jayson Werth who lined a Correia offering over the left field fence for a 2-0 lead.
However, the Twins struck back immediately in the top of the 4th against Nats pitcher Gio Gonzalez. With one out, Josh Willingham was able to sneak a ground ball single just under the glove of a diving Ryan Zimmerman at 3rd base. Next up was Justin Morneau, who hit the ball at 1st baseman Adam LaRoche, who was unable to field the ball cleanly. LaRoche's miscue allowed Willingham to score from 1st and Morneau to advance to 2nd base. Next was a walk to Aaron Hicks, and then Brian Dozier grounded a single into left field to score Morneau and tie the score at 2.
It was still tied at 2 going into the top of the 5th inning when Joe Mauer stepped up to the plate. With 1 away, Mauer took a fastball from Gonzalez and lined it into the left-center field bullpen for his 6th home run of the season and his 100th of his career, which gave the Twins a 3-2 lead.
It hasn't been often this year, but Kevin Correia had the strikeout pitch working for him. He struck out 7 batters in 6 1/3 innings, and was pitching very well save for the Werth home run until the 7th inning, though he was hurt by a fielding miscue from Pedro Florimon. 2nd baseman Anthony Rendon led off the 7th with a single and then advanced to 2nd base on a sacrifice bunt from Roger Bernadina. This brought up Kurt Suzuki, who hit a high one-hopper towards Florimon at shortstop. Florimon came charging in and tried to grab the ball on a short hop, but the ball skipped right under his glove and bounced into shallow left-center field. With Josh Willingham nowhere near the ball, Rendon was able to come home from 2nd and Suzuki was oddly credited with an RBI double.
From there, the teams traded zeroes while emptying their respective bullpens. The Nationals used 7 relievers in the game, all after the 6th inning, while the Twins used 5. The score would not change until the top of the 11th against Nationals reliever Craig Stammen. Chris Herrmann pinch-hit for pitcher Josh Roenicke and was able to draw a leadoff walk. He was then advanced to 2nd base on a sacrifice bunt by Jamey Carroll, and then Mauer was intentionally walked to set up the chance for a double play. Instead, Ryan Doumit was able to line a pitch from Stammen over the head of a leaping Rendon at 2nd base. Herrmann got a great read of the play from 2nd base and was able to score without drawing a throw from the outfield to give the Twins the lead. From there, Glen Perkins came in to get the save in the bottom of the 11th and gave up only a 2-out single in recording his 13th save of the year.
WP: Josh Roenicke (2-1)
LP: Craig Stammen (3-2)
S: Glen Perkins (13)
Joe Mauer (3 for 5, BB, 2B, HR, RBI), Ryan Doumit (2 for 5, BB, game-winning RBI), Twins bullpen (4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K)
Jamey Carroll (0 for 4, BB), Pedro Florimon (0 for 4, BB, 2 K)
Player of the Game
I feel the need to name co-players of the game in Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit. Mauer gets it for his 2 extra base hits, including his 100th homer of his career, and Doumit for his 2 hits including the game-winner in the 11th inning.
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