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Twins 4, Athletics 3: Mitch is clutch in 12-inning win

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Twins still refuse to lose three games in a row

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics
Put another one in the left-hand column.
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Whew. The Twins needed that one.

It seems silly to say that about a squad that sits at 54-31 and seven games up on the second-place team in the division, but it’s true. The Twins had lost four of their last five games and was on the brink of losing three games in a row for the first time all season.

But Minnesota is now 8-0 on the heels of a two-game losing streak, although it took 12 innings to do it.

Kyle Gibson had a decent start, with the only real blemish a three-run home run by Ramon Laureano in the second inning. He went six innings with only two of the three runs allowed counting as earned. Gibson did walk four men compared to just five strikeouts, and it took him 102 pitches to get through the six frames.

The Twins didn’t get their first hit until a two-out double by Miguel Sano in the top of the fifth inning, and didn’t truly break through until the sixth. After singles by Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler, each player advanced a base on a wild pitch, giving the Twins runners on second and third with one out. Following a Jorge Polanco line-out to center field, Mitch Garver lined a single to right field with two strikes.

In the seventh, the Twins caught a break when A’s second baseman Franklin Barreto lifted his foot off the bag before attempting to turn a double play, and the Twins drew within a score of 3-2 and had runners on second and third with just one out. But on the next pitch, the Twins attempted a suicide squeeze and Byron Buxton failed to make contact. Ehrie Adrianza was caught in a rundown between third base and home and was tagged out. Buxton ultimately struck out, and the Twins were limited to just one run.

But Polanco was once again a hero, swatting a two-out, game-tying home run in the top of the eighth inning, knotting the game at 3.

Ryne Harper got through the eighth inning and Tyler Duffey pitched a clean ninth but after the Twins went down in order in the tenth, Blake Parker walked two men before wriggling out of a ninth-inning jam when Miguel Sano threw out Matt Chapman at home plate on a play that withstood an A’s challenge.

The Twins had players on first and third with one out in the 11th, but Sano popped out and Adrianza struck out swinging. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Parker gave up a single and a wild pitch, putting old friend Robbie Grossman at second base with nobody out. But Parker recovered to notch two strikeouts and a fly out, and we were on to the 12th.

The Twins rode three walks and another clutch, RBI single from Garver to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the frame. (It could have been a bigger lead but for a fantastic play by Chapman at third base to end the inning. The All-Star grabbed a high chopper, stepped on third base and threw to first all in one motion.)

The bottom of the inning was more dramatic than it needed to be after Schoop booted a grounder off the bat of Chapman to open the frame. A single by Jurickson Profar sent Chapman to third, but a blunder by Profar allowed him to be thrown out at second for the second out. Ultimately, Taylor Rogers was able to strand Chapman 90 feet away from home and the Twins held on to win.

Now, the Twins will have a shot at winning the series with a 3:07 p.m. CT matinee on Thursday.

Notes

  • The Twins bullpen taketh away, the Twins bullpen giveth...or something like that. The much-maligned group was solid on Wednesday night, throwing six innings and giving up just four hits and three walks against eight strikeouts.
  • Marwin Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup with a bruised toe. He did appear to be limping/grimacing after running the bases in Tuesday night’s game; don’t expect him to be in Thursday’s lineup but here’s hoping he’s good to go by the weekend series against Texas.
  • So much for the game starting an hour earlier; this was still a nearly-five-hour affair and stretched to about 1 a.m. CT.

Studs

  • Luis Arraez: 3-for-6, R
  • Mitch Garver: 2-for-6, 2 RBI, game-winning RBI
  • Taylor Rogers: 1 IP, H, 2K, save
  • Tyler Duffey: 1 IP, 7 pitches

Duds

  • C.J. Cron: 0-for-5, BB, K
  • Byron Buxton: 0-for-4, BB, R, K, missed squeeze bunt