Twins drop nightcap on pair of homers in 12th
Rally in bottom half comes up short after Duensing allows solo shots
MINNEAPOLIS -- After seemingly walking a tight rope all night, the Twins finally paid for it in the 12th inning in the longest game in Target Field history.
Scott Van Slyke and former Twins catcher Drew Butera delivered homers off Brian Duensing to give the Dodgers a 4-3 win in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader to complete a three-game sweep for Los Angeles.
Twins pitchers walked 12 batters and pitched out of jams throughout the game, as the Dodgers left 16 runners on base, but Van Slyke and Butera gave the Dodgers their second win of the day with solo blasts in the 12th.
The Twins came back with a run in the bottom half against closer Kenley Jansen, but Chris Colabello lined out to first base with runners on second and third for the final out in a game that lasted five hours and 11 minutes.
"It was a tough loss there at the end," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had chances and they had a ton of chances. They scored a couple but Colabello hit the living fire out of the ball but just at them. So we had chances to win the ballgame there and he put a good swing on it but it didn't work out."
Duensing served up both of the homers to the Dodgers in his third inning of work after throwing scoreless frames in the 10th and 11th innings. Butera's sixth career homer turned out to be key, as it gave the Dodgers a much-needed insurance run.
"I was looking for something up and got a fastball middle," said Butera, who hadn't homered since July 1, 2012. "It's a slight advantage having caught him for four years. You know what his ball does and what he likes to throw."
The Twins also failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities, and left 10 men on base, including two in the eighth inning and two more in the 12th, after opening the frame by loading the bases with nobody out against Jansen. But the Twins could manage just one run on a sacrifice fly from Joe Mauer, with Colabello catching an unlucky break by smashing his line drive right to Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
"Sometimes you just hit them at people," Colabello said. "Obviously, I wish it wasn't at somebody in that spot. But as a hitter, you have to think mission accomplished. But sometimes they're not hits."
It all came after Kris Johnson, making his second career start as Minnesota's designated 26th man on the roster, tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He did suffer from control problems, as he walked six batters. But he was far from alone, as the 12 walks issued by the Twins were their most since also walking 12 on April 29, 1988.
"A starter's job is to go as deep as possible into the game and I think that's where I failed," Johnson said. "It's unacceptable, especially at this level. So it's something I have to work on."
Johnson was handed an early lead, with the Twins scoring in the first inning against right-hander Red Patterson, who was making his first big league start as the Dodgers' 26th man on the roster. The Twins loaded the bases in the first inning, with Josmil Pinto bringing home the first run with a sacrifice fly.
But Patterson settled down from there, and ended up giving up one run on two hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
The Twins didn't score again until the seventh against reliever Brandon League, and were helped by a pair of errors. Trevor Plouffe reached second on a throwing error from third baseman Juan Uribe before Colabello hit a soft ground ball to League, which should've been an easy out at first base. But League looked to third base where no one was covering the bag, and threw wildly to first to allow Colabello to reach on an infield single and Plouffe to score on a throwing error.
The Dodgers were held scoreless until the sixth inning, but had a chance in the fifth, when they had runners at first and third with one out to knock Johnson from the game. But right-hander Anthony Swarzak was able to get Matt Kemp to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Los Angeles finally got on the board in the sixth against Swarzak, as Van Slyke opened the inning with a triple off the glove of center fielder Aaron Hicks, who tried to make a leaping catch at the wall but came up short. Hicks hit his head on the wall trying to make the catch but stayed in the game after a short injury delay. Uribe promptly laced an RBI single back up the middle on the next pitch from Swarzak.
The Dodgers tied it up in the seventh on a solo homer from Gonzalez to left-center field off reliever Michael Tonkin. They loaded the bases with two outs but Dee Gordon's line drive was snared by a diving Brian Dozier at second base to end the inning.
It was just one of several missed opportunities for both teams, who played a combined 21 innings on Thursday, with the Dodgers outscoring the Twins, 13-7, in their two victories.
"Some big pitches were made by both teams to get out of it," Gardenhire said. "This ends a long, frustrating day of not getting a win in either of these two."