MINNEAPOLIS -- Fueled by a seven-run seventh inning, the Marlins routed the Twins, 10-3, on Thursday night in the series finale at Target Field. The Marlins broke a 2-2 tie with the big inning, which was was capped by a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Chris Johnson, and avoided a sweep
MINNEAPOLIS -- Fueled by a seven-run seventh inning, the Marlins routed the Twins, 10-3, on Thursday night in the series finale at Target Field. The Marlins broke a 2-2 tie with the big inning, which was was capped by a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Chris Johnson, and avoided a sweep by Minnesota. Marcell Ozuna paced Miami's offense with four hits and three RBIs.
The Marlins chased Twins starter Ervin Santana in the seventh and sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning, tallying eight hits. J.T. Realmuto scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki for the go-ahead run, and the next five batters after him followed suit by crossing home plate. Johnson entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Justin Bour and took reliever Taylor Rogers deep to right to complete the seven-run frame, which came one inning after Minnesota tied the game.
"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. "You never know when it starts, so it was good to be able to add on tonight. 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."
The Twins' bullpen hadn't allowed a run in 10 straight innings before Thursday's game. That changed in the seventh when reliever Trevor May faced three batters, all three of which eventually came around to score. The loss dropped the Twins to 18-41 after Minnesota had won the first two games of the series.
"The last couple games, we did a little better job of when we scored to go back out there and put up a zero, and it eventually led to a couple wins," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "Tonight, when we finally did get back to even, you're hoping Ervin can somehow get through one more inning and give you a chance heading into the bottom of the seventh."
Marlins starter Tom Koehler earned the victory, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. He retired the first nine men he faced and allowed just one baserunner through his first 5 2/3 innings. He left the game with it tied at 2, but secured the win with Miami's offensive explosion in the seventh.
"We had the lead and unfortunately, I gave two runs back there in the sixth, so to have the guys respond and put up a nice crooked number there, they picked me up," Koehler said. "I would have loved to have gotten out of that sixth unscathed and see what could have happened with the rest of the day, but we needed to get the game today. Anyway we got the win, that's all that mattered."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seven in the seventh: The game was moving along briskly until the Marlins collected six straight one-out hits in the seventh. Miami had eight hits and a hit batter among its 12 batters in the inning, with Realmuto reaching base twice, as the Marlins tied their season high for runs scored in an inning. More >
Grossman stays hot: Twins outfielder Robbie Grossman, who joined the club in late May, picked up two more RBIs with a two-out double in the sixth. Grossman's eighth double of the year drove in Byron Buxton and Nunez to tie the game at 2. Grossman now has 13 RBIs in 19 games with Minnesota, and has reached base in 18 of those games.
Koehler cruises early: Koehler was brilliant early on, retiring the first nine men he faced and not allowing a hit until Nunez's leadoff single in the fourth. Even Nunez was erased shortly after trying to steal second base. Koehler had a clean fifth and retired the first two men he faced in the sixth before the Twins staged a two-out rally to get on the board.
"I thought his breaking ball was good today. He used the slider and the breaking ball, he mixes his fastball around the zone," Mattingly said. "He's not a guy that's going to be real clean as far as spot, spot, spot. It's more of a mix of pitches. I thought he did a good job with his breaking ball and using his changeup some. He just had a really good mix, and that worked better with these guys than just straight power."
Nunez back on track: One night after going 0-for-5, Nunez rebounded with a pair of hits, putting his season average at .332. Nunez singled in the fourth and sixth, while scoring the tying run in the sixth on Grossman's double. Nunez finished the night 2-for-4.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He grounded into a double play in his final at-bat in the eighth inning, but he certainly didn't make it easy for Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who started the 4-6-3 double play after the ball came off Stanton's bat at 123.9 mph -- the hardest-hit ball ever recorded by Statcast™.
Nunez appeared to steal second base with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Marlins challenged the call. After an estimated two-minute, 12-second review, the call was overturned and Nunez was called out after the replay official determined Nunez didn't maintain contact with second base while the tag was applied.
Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia left with a right foot contusion in the seventh. X-rays were negative, and Arcia is considered day to day. He was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before the injury. Arcia was replaced in the lineup by Max Kepler.
Twins reliever Phil Hughes left in the ninth after taking a line drive to the left knee. Hughes was hit by a comebacker off the bat of Realmuto with one out and was helped off the field by a trainer after being attended to near the pitcher's mound. The Twins announced he has a left knee contusion and is listed as day to day. More >
Marlins: Miami continues a nine-game road trip on Friday at 9:40 p.m. ET in Arizona, when it opens a three-game series against the D-backs at Chase Field. Left-hander Justin Nicolino will seek his first victory since May 3 against Arizona at Marlins Park. Nicolino allowed just two runs against the Mets his last time out, but lasted only 5 1/3 innings, and he hasn't pitched past the sixth inning since his first start of the season on April 27. Lefty Patrick Corbin (3-5, 4.73 ERA) will start for Arizona.
Twins: Minnesota's homestand continues Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT as the Twins play host to the Red Sox for three games at Target Field. Right-hander Tyler Duffey is slated to start the series opener against Boston. It's the first time this season the Twins and Red Sox will face off. The two teams are also scheduled for a four-game series in Boston in late July. Friday marks Duffey's 19th career big league start, and his first time facing the Red Sox. Right-hander Steven Wright (6-4, 2.29 ERA) will take the mound for Boston.
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Tyler Mason is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Twins on Thursday.
Dan Myers is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Marlins on Thursday.