Parmelee launches walk-off homer to lift Twins
Outfielder makes sure first homer of 2014 season looms large
MINNEAPOLIS -- After being outrighted off the 40-man roster at the end of Spring Training and passing through waivers unclaimed, Chris Parmelee knew he had plenty to prove this season.
But Parmelee didn't sulk at Triple-A Rochester, as he hit .305 with seven homers and seven doubles in 32 games to force the Twins' hand to add him back on the 40-man roster on Friday.
The decision to bring up Parmelee paid off in a big way for the Twins on Tuesday night, as he connected on his first career walk-off homer off left-hander Andrew Miller to give the Twins an 8-6 win over the Red Sox at Target Field.
"When you get that late in the game, it doesn't matter who does it, but I'm happy for Parm," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's worked really hard. He got sent down frustrated at the end of Spring Training and cleared waivers, which is disappointing for a player. But he worked hard down there and played his way up so this was a big one for him."
With Miller on the mound with the game tied in the ninth, Kurt Suzuki laced a two-out single down the left-field line to set the stage for Parmelee's heroics. Parmelee connected on an 0-1 fastball from Miller for his first homer of the season, and just the fourth walk-off homer at Target Field since it opened in 2010.
"I was looking for a ball up in the zone I could handle," Parmelee said. "I was honestly just trying to put a ball in the gap somewhere and watch Suzuki run. So I was sitting fastball against that guy because not too many guys hit that slider. It's pretty nasty. So I was looking for a good pitch to hit and was able to get one."
Miller said it was the location of the pitch that bothered him most, as he missed down and inside with the fastball.
"Your left-hander is going to hit the ball down and in," Miller said. "That's the classic swing path. I threw it right into it."
It came after the bullpen gave up three runs in the seventh to tie the game and spoil Ricky Nolasco's third straight quality start. Nolasco went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts, but was saddled with the no-decision after the bullpen faltered.
David Ortiz provided the offense for the Red Sox against Nolasco, as he connected on solo blasts in the first and fourth innings before adding an RBI single in the sixth and seventh. Ortiz finished the night going 4-for-5 with four RBIs.
"I thought I was pretty good," Nolasco said. "But I made a couple mistakes to Ortiz. The first was a pretty impressive one-handed swing in the first, and that's what he does. The next time, I thought he was taking and he jumped me. So there's not much you can do. He's a great hitter."
But Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy struggled and lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings while giving up six runs on nine hits and two walks.
The Twins erupted for five runs in the second inning with Eduardo Nunez delivering a two-run blast with one out for his first homer with the Twins this season. Eduardo Escobar followed with a single and Danny Santana walked before Brian Dozier laced a two-run double to right field. Joe Mauer then added an RBI single up the middle to score Dozier.
The Twins scored again in the fifth on a one-out RBI single from Suzuki to score Trevor Plouffe, who led off the inning with a double. It was the 25th RBI of the season for Suzuki, who leads all Major League catchers in that category.
The Red Sox threatened in Nolasco's final inning with two runners on and one out after Ortiz's RBI single and a walk from Grady Sizemore, but former Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski grounded into an inning-ending double play.
After Nolasco departed, the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the seventh to tie the game. Right-hander Michael Tonkin gave up three straight hits with two outs including an RBI single to Shane Victorino to bring Boston within two runs of Minnesota.
Left-hander Brian Duensing was called in to face Ortiz, who was able to beat the shift with an RBI single on a 3-2 slider. Right-hander Matt Guerrier was then called in to face pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes, who drew a 10-pitch walk to tie the game. Left-hander Caleb Thielbar was brought in and was able to get out of the jam by striking out Pierzynski looking.
"It was a disappointing seventh inning for us," Gardenhire said. "We had two outs and nobody on and we couldn't get an out and they end up tying the ballgame. That was a little bit frustrating. We made some pitches that were close, but they didn't go our way and they got some big hits that inning."
But right-hander Jared Burton tossed a scoreless eighth before handing it over to Glen Perkins, who threw a scoreless ninth to pick up the win after Parmelee's walk-off homer.
"Our guys kept playing and finally we got a big one there," Gardenhire said. "So it was a nice win for us."