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Doumit stays hot, delivers game-winning hit in 11th

Mauer hits 100th homer, finishes triple shy of cycle; bullpen steps up

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Doumit has unquestionably been one of the Twins' hottest hitters of late.

Doumit struggled to start the year, but has been on fire as he entered Saturday's game against the Nationals hitting .310 with five homers over his previous 10 games. It caused Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to move him up to the No. 3 spot in the order for just the second time this season, and it worked to perfection.

Doumit continued his recent tear, as he delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the 11th inning to lead the Twins to a 4-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday evening at Nationals Park.

"Today was a big win with a split doubleheader tomorrow," Doumit said. "That's a lot of baseball. The last thing we needed on both sides was to go deep into extra innings. So I was fortunate that I got a pitch to hit there in the 11th and put a good swing on it."

Doumit's game-winning hit off reliever Craig Stammen scored Chris Herrmann, who led off the inning with a pinch-hit walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jamey Carroll. Joe Mauer was intentionally walked after Carroll's sacrifice, and Doumit was able to come through with a single to center field to score Herrmann.

The Twins faced a similar circumstance in the ninth, but Gardenhire opted to go with a hit-and-run with Carroll at the plate instead of bunting. Carroll hit into a double play before Mauer and Doumit singled but were stranded.

"It didn't work the first time with the double play," Gardenhire said. "I thought it was a good play because Jamey handles the bat and so I told him that if we bunt with him that Joe Mauer doesn't get to swing, so we'll hit and run and maybe we get first and third. So I took a shot there and I'd do it again. He just hit it right to third base. So I'll take my chances. It just didn't work out that time, but it did the next time."

Doumit's big hit handed the Nationals their fourth loss over their last five games, as the division favorites entering the year are 3-7 over their last 10 games.

"It's very frustrating," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "It's getting my dander up. We're better than we're showing. We just haven't done the little things."

Kevin Correia pitched well for the Twins, as he registered his team-leading seventh quality start but was stuck with a no-decision. The right-hander allowed three runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings with a season-high seven strikeouts.

The Nationals got out to an early lead on a two-run homer from Jayson Werth in the third to score former Twins center fielder Denard Span, who singled with two outs.

"I threw the ball well enough," Correia said. "As long as we get a win out of the game, that's good. That was about the most runs I could've given up. I made one bad pitch to Werth on a ball I shouldn't have thrown."

The Twins tied it against left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the fourth keyed by an error from Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche. Justin Morneau hit a grounder that went between LaRoche's legs to score Josh Willingham and advanced to second on the play before scoring on an RBI single from Brian Dozier.

Minnesota took the lead on a solo homer from Mauer off Gonzalez in the fifth. It was Mauer's sixth homer of the season and the 100th of his career. He finished a triple shy of the cycle.

But the lead didn't stick, as the Nationals rallied to tie it with a run against Correia in the seventh. Anthony Rendon started it off with a leadoff single before reaching second on a sacrifice bunt from Roger Bernadina. Kurt Suzuki then hit a high chopper that went underneath Pedro Florimon's glove at shortstop for an RBI double.

The Twins had several chances to take the lead late, but they stranded Eduardo Escobar, who pinch-ran for Morneau, at third in the eighth and left runners at the corners in the ninth with Willingham striking out looking to end the inning.

But the bullpen kept the Twins in the game, as Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Jared Burton, Josh Roenicke and Glen Perkins combined to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings, with Perkins picking up his 13th save.

"The bullpen came in and did a really nice job throwing the baseball," Gardenhire said. "They kept sending us back to the dugout and made some big pitches when they had to."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
Read More: Minnesota Twins, Kevin Correia, Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, Ryan Doumit