SEATTLE -- The Twins' struggles in one-run games continued Saturday night in Seattle, this time in stomach-turning fashion, as Minnesota fell, 4-3, in 12 innings when Mariners catcher Mike Zunino hit a walk-off solo homer off reliever Matt Magill.With the loss, Minnesota dropped to 3-10 this season in one-run affairs
SEATTLE -- The Twins' struggles in one-run games continued Saturday night in Seattle, this time in stomach-turning fashion, as Minnesota fell, 4-3, in 12 innings when Mariners catcher Mike Zunino hit a walk-off solo homer off reliever Matt Magill.
With the loss, Minnesota dropped to 3-10 this season in one-run affairs and 21-26 overall. The Twins have five walk-off losses and are 2-4 in extra-inning games.
The drama came well after Twins starter Jake Odorizzi had built a 2-0 lead through five shutout innings. But in the bottom of sixth, Odorizzi yielded a leadoff homer to Jean Segura, then a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz later in the frame that ultimately knocked Odorizzi from the game.
Center fielder Byron Buxton crashed into the wall trying to rob Cruz's homer and was subsequently removed as well. He was evaluated by Minnesota's medical staff but showed no symptoms of a concussion.
"Other than being really sore tomorrow I think he's probably going to be OK," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Odorizzi, meanwhile, has been excellent since the Twins traded Minor League infielder Jermaine Palacios to the Rays for the veteran right-hander last offseason. But he hadn't pitched more than six innings in any of his previous starts, averaging about 5 1/3 innings through his first 10 outings. Coincidentally, he lasted 5 1/3 innings on Saturday night, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk while picking up the no-decision.
"He was good," Molitor said. "I thought he did a real good job of being efficient and holding down their lineup … we had relievers ready to go. We were just trying to get through Cruz. Worst-case scenario he hits a homer … and he hits the homer."
After Mariners ace James Paxton dominated in a 3-1 loss Friday night, the Twins' lineup finally broke through against Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc in the sixth inning thanks to Max Kepler. With no outs and the game still scoreless, Kepler lined a double down the right-field line to score James Dozier from second base. After Miguel Sano flied out, Eddie Rosario followed with another RBI double down the right-field line to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
After the Mariners rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth, third baseman Eduardo Escobar tied the game with a two-out RBI single in the eighth off reliever James Pazos.
"We got some timely hits there," Molitor said. "We didn't have a lot of hits throughout the evening but we bunched a couple together."
Minnesota appeared ready to bust out of an offensive slump with two outs in the third inning after Dozier walked and Kepler followed with an infield single. Sano, who was activated from the 10-day DL on Thursday, hit a soft liner into the gap in left-center that appeared as if it would drop, but Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel made a diving catch to end the inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Magill had no trouble dispatching first baseman Ryon Healy and Gamel to get the first two outs of the bottom of the 12th inning. But against Zunino, who had struck out three times and was 0-for-4 entering the at-bat, he left a 2-2 pitch over the plate and the catcher lined a solo shot off the facade of the upper deck, sending much of the crowd into a frenzy.
Right fielder Kepler continued his recent hot hitting on Saturday night, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. Kepler is hitting .375 (18-for-48) this season against left-handed pitchers, the highest mark of any left-handed hitter in the American League.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Seattle right fielder Mitch Haniger grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that ended when Twins shortstop Gregorio Petit made a leaping throw that barely beat Haniger to first base. Mariners manager Scott Servais decided to challenge the out call, and after a short review, replay officials determined the call would stand.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.82 ERA) will take the hill Sunday at 3:10 p.m. CT against Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (4-3, 5.46 ERA) as Minnesota wraps up the first half of its six-game road trip. The series finale marks a rematch from April 7, when Leake and the Mariners cruised to an 11-4 win in Minnesota. Berríos struggled in that outing, allowing five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings en route to his first loss of the season.
Alex Lewis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.