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Twins tie it ninth, walk off with win in 10th

Twins tie it ninth, walk off with win in 10th

MINNEAPOLIS -- Darin Mastroianni had a good feeling as he stood on third in the bottom of the 10th, with Josh Willingham heading to the plate. And after Willingham's recent string of late-game heroics, it's easy to see why.

Willingham came through again with a single, scoring Mastroianni to give the Twins an 8-7 victory over the Cubs in front of 38,014 at Target Field on Friday night.

Mastroianni led off the inning with a walk and Ben Revere advanced him to second with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt. Mastroianni took third on Jamey Carroll's infield single, setting the stage for Willingham's second walk-off hit in 10 days.

Willingham hit a three-run homer in the ninth to give Minnesota a 3-2 win over Oakland on May 29.

"Willy just seems to have that flair for being up late in the game," Mastroianni said. "So obviously when Jamey got that hit and we were first and third, I was pretty excited. I really felt Willy was going to do something there to end the game."

Willingham took a called strike from Chicago's Shawn Camp before pulling the next pitch -- an 89 mph sinker -- down the left-field line. He credited a simplistic approach.

"I wasn't really thinking of anything," Willingham said. "I usually get in trouble when I start thinking. Just trying to get a pitch to hit and not try and do too much with it."

Minnesota rallied to tie the score at 7-7 in the ninth and had the winning run at third with nobody out, but failed to bring it home.

Willingham led off with a single, then Justin Morneau drove a ball off the right-center wall for triple that tied the game. Morneau swung and missed on Camp's first two pitches in the at-bat.

"I was just trying to eliminate everything that happened," Morneau said. "The only pitch that matters is the next one. You just have to stay aggressive in that situation. You don't want to just make contact and roll into a double play. It's better to strike out being aggressive than hit something soft to the second baseman."

Chris Parmelee was then walked intentionally after Ryan Doumit struck out. Denard Span pinch-ran for Morneau and was tagged out at home when Alexi Casilla grounded into a fielder's choice. Camp induced a flyout from Brian Dozier to push the game to extras, but not before he blew the save opportunity.

"I feel like I've been pretty consistent," Camp said. "But tonight I ran into a situation where I didn't make pitches when I needed to."

Doumit's solo homer against James Russell in the seventh gave the Twins a 6-5 lead. But Alfonso Soriano answered in the eighth with a 440-foot, two-run bomb against Glen Perkins -- Soriano's second homer of the night -- giving the Cubs a 7-6 lead.

The Twins used a two-run sixth to tie the score at 5-5, with Dozier recording an RBI single and scoring on Mastroianni's first career triple.

The Cubs took a 5-2 lead in the fifth against Twins starter P.J. Walters. Starlin Castro connected on a two-run homer after Ian Stewart scored on Reed Johnson's bloop single. Stewart had led off the inning with a triple.

The Cubs got to Walters for two runs in the first. After reaching on a triple, Castro scored the game's first run when David DeJesus drove him home on a sacrifice fly. Soriano followed by taking Walters deep to center field for a home run, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Walters' day ended after five innings, in which he allowed five runs on eight hits. It was his third straight troublesome start, though he complicated the previous two outings by walking a combined eight batters.

On Friday, most of the damage against Walters was done on two pitches.

"I fell behind to Soriano and he hit the homer to center," Walters said. "A hanging slider to Castro and he put a good swing on it and hit the homer. Take out the two home runs though, and it's a completely different game."

The victory is the Twins' eighth in their last 10 games, and their fourth straight at Target Field.

"We've been doing more winning lately, so I think everybody's more confident," Willingham said. "I don't think we ever get down or feel like we're out of a game when we get down a few runs early. But that's the mark of a good team when you can battle back and answer them."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for
Read More: Minnesota Twins, Ryan Doumit, P.J. Walters, Justin Morneau, Darin Mastroianni, Josh Willingham