After duel, Mariners top Twins in 11 innings
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a wild ninth inning that saw both teams exchange homers to send the game to extra innings, Logan Morrison connected on a go-ahead RBI double in the 11th to help lift the Mariners to a 4-1 win over the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
"I haven't even taken batting practice in the last four to five days," said Morrison, who has been sidelined by a bruised thumb but entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth. "I was just trying to get something in middle of the plate. I didn't feel it. When you barrel it, you don't feel it no matter how bad your hand hurts."
Twins reliever Kevin Jepsen, who was acquired from the Rays shortly before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, gave up back-to-back walks to Ketel Marte and Kyle Seager to open the 11th. He struck out Nelson Cruz, and lefty Brian Duensing was brought in to face Morrison. But Morrison hit the first pitch from Duensing to right-center for a double to give Seattle the lead. Austin Jackson gave the Mariners a pair of insurance runs with a two-run single to left off righty Casey Fien.
It came after Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma entered the ninth having thrown 41 2/3 career innings against the Twins without allowing an earned run, but served up a solo shot to Brian Dozier with one out in ninth to tie the game. Iwakuma had only allowed one hit to that point. He dueled with Mike Pelfrey, who tossed eight scoreless innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ketel stirs the pot: Outside of Marte, the Mariners couldn't get much going against Pelfrey. But the rookie second baseman, playing his third game in the Majors, went 3-for-4 with a walk and two infield singles from his leadoff spot. More >
Pelfrey turns in strong outing: Pelfrey entered with a 6.44 ERA over his last eight starts. The sinkerballer tossed eight scoreless innings for the first time since June 7, which was also the last time he picked up a win. He scattered four hits and a walk, using two double plays to his advantage.
Another Cruz missile: The Mariners' slugger continues to rake on the road, with his go-ahead shot in the top of the ninth his Major League leading 22nd away from home. Angels outfielder Mike Trout is second in road homers in the Majors with 16. Cruz's 29th blast of the season banged off the batter's eye in center field and was projected to land 442 feet away from home plate by Statcast™, coming on a 3-0 fastball from Glen Perkins. Cruz went 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, during which he's hit .407 (24-for-59) with four doubles, eight homers and 12 RBIs.
"As much you want your first impression to be a good one, it's nice to go out there and get it out of the way. Getting off the mound, it had been a few days. All in all, I thought my stuff was fine. It was just a lack of control to start the inning." -- Jepsen, on getting the loss in his Twins debut.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to Stats Inc., Iwakuma's 42 innings without an earned run against the Twins is the longest streak against one opponent to start a career for any MLB pitcher since 1974. Troy Percival of the Angels had the previous mark of 40 innings -- also against the Twins -- from 1995-2004.
After drawing a walk to open the 11th, Marte advanced to second on a wild pitch from Jepsen, but the Twins challenged second-base umpire Marty Foster's call on the field. After a review, the call on the field was confirmed.
DODGING A BULLET
Iwakuma survived a wicked line drive off the bat of Miguel Sano in the fourth inning, sticking his glove up to snare the head-level shot back up the middle. Statcast™ measured the ball at 105 mph off Sano's bat. The Mariners' right-hander instinctively stuck up his mitt and moved his head to the right in the split-second of reaction time, then smiled broadly as he tossed the ball around the infield after that wake-up call.
Did he see the ball coming?
"I saw it pretty good," Iwakuma said with a laugh.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (12-6, 3.02 ERA) makes his first career appearance at Coors Field when Seattle opens a three-game Interleague series against the Rockies at 5:40 p.m. PT on Monday. Hernandez is coming off a rough loss when he gave up seven runs on a season-high 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings against the D-backs at Safeco Field. He's never faced Colorado in his 11 seasons in the Majors.
Twins: The Twins head to Toronto for a four-game series that begins on Monday with a day game at 12:07 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ervin Santana is looking to shake off a rough start, as he gave up eight runs (six earned) over 5 2/3 innings last time out against the Pirates.
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