Miami put together one of its most impressive rallies of the season in the seventh inning, scoring seven runs on eight hits and a hit batter while sending 12 men to the plate to break open a tie game in a 10-3 victory.
The seven-run frame tied a season high for the Marlins (April 11 vs. the Mets), but more importantly, came at a critical time in the game. After scoring single runs in each of the first two innings, Miami was unable to add on through the middle of the game.
When the Twins scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at 2, the Marlins appeared in danger of letting a lead slip away for the third consecutive night.
"That game was kind of setting up like the first two, really, from the standpoint that we get a little lead early, not a lot going on," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
The inability to tack on runs cost Miami enough through two days in Minneapolis that the Marlins were in danger of being swept for the first time in nearly two months.
That wasn't a problem on Thursday.
"When I talk about adding runs, it's more like, once you get a lead and score early, it's really more about continuing to play, continuing to add on," Mattingly said, perhaps prophetically, before the game. "You never know how many runs you're going to need. Some days you may need eight or nine, some days you might not need them. I think you want to be able to take pressure off your guys in the [bullpen], so they're not always pitching in a game where they can't afford to make a mistake."
Marlins starter Tom Koehler was at just 89 pitches through six innings and might have gone out for the seventh had the offense not put together the big inning. But the Twins scored twice with two outs in the sixth and the long wait in the dugout followed, ending Koehler's night.
"We had the lead and unfortunately, I gave two runs back there in the sixth," Koehler said. "To have the guys respond and put up a nice crooked number there, they picked me up."
After Derek Dietrich grounded out to start the seventh, Miami strung together three straight singles to knock starting pitcher Ervin Santana from the game.
Reliever Trevor May allowed another runner to score on a wild pitch, then surrendered back-to-back run-scoring doubles to Martin Prado and Christian Yelich before an RBI single by Marcell Ozuna ended his night.
"Stuff like that doesn't happen often, so when it does, it's fun, you've gotta enjoy it," Yelich said. "That's what happens when guys string a lot good at-bats together, guys put some good swings, hit the ball hard and it was finding holes."
Twins left-hander Taylor Rogers got Giancarlo Stanton to swing at strike three for the second out, but pinch-hitter Chris Johnson entered and planted the second pitch he saw into the flower pots above the right-field overhang.
The inning continued with a single and a hit batter, and finally ended when Adeiny Hechavarria lined out to shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
"You never know when it starts, so it was good to be able to add on tonight," Mattingly said. "We talked about pretty much the whole series not being able to add on. Obviously tonight we were able to add on a lot, so that made it easier for us. I was able to use guys out of the 'pen that, to continue to give guys day off and be able to do what we wanted to do out of there."
Dan Myers is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Marlins on Thursday.