SEATTLE (AP) -Knowing how many steps must happen in perfect order to throw out a runner from the outfield, Minnesota's
wasn't the least bit surprised to see
being sent toward home.
Fortunately for the slumping Twins, Span was perfect.
''I can see why so many third-base coaches send runners,'' Span said. ''The chances of a perfect throw are very slim. It was
one of those times it hit (catcher
) right in the chest.''
Span drove in two runs early and then came up with perhaps the biggest defensive play this season for the Twins, throwing
out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the eighth as the Twins beat the AL-worst
6-5 Wednesday, snapping Minnesota's ill-timed losing streak at four.
Facing the possibility of falling even further behind in the playoff chase, the Twins put together a clutch inning of hitting
in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs to take the lead. Span then helped preserve the advantage a few minutes later
when Minnesota's bullpen did its best to give up the lead.
''I'm just glad we got a victory,'' Span said. ''I don't like this place. I don't know what it is about this place, but they
play us tough.''
The Mariners gave the Twins fits all season, and won two close ones in the previous two nights. Minnesota entered the day
2 1/2 games behind Boston for the wild card and 2 behind Chicago in the AL Central. Both played later Wednesday.
It appeared the Twins' deficit was going to increase thanks to their shaky bullpen. Minnesota reliever
got the first out of the eighth, before former Seattle closer
entered and stumbled. Guardado struck out
, then allowed consecutive doubles to
to trim the Twins' advantage to 6-5.
grounded a single to right field and the pinch-running Hulett was sent home by third base coach
. Span fielded the grounder cleanly and threw a perfect strike to Redmond, getting Hulett by a few feet.
Redmond was greeted in the clubhouse afterward by his son, Ryan, who said ''dad, way to tackle that guy.''
''In my mind, he was going to have to come over me to score that run,'' Redmond said. ''That was obviously a big play just
to hold them off.''
then worked the ninth for his 36th save in 40 chances, giving Minnesota just its fifth win this season when trailing after
The Twins were in position for Span's throw thanks to an eighth-inning rally off Seattle's bullpen. Fittingly it was Minnesota's
who started the comeback. After Tuesday night's loss, Morneau questioned the energy and enthusiasm of his team.
Trailing 4-3 entering the eighth, Morneau ripped the third pitch from reliever
(3-4), hitting it so hard that center fielder
had no chance to cut off the liner before it rolled to the wall.
followed with a single to left and
capped his stellar season against Seattle pitching with a bloop double that fell between Balentien and
to score Morneau with the tying run.
After a groundout, Seattle went to left-hander
, pinch-hitting for
. But Buscher didn't give Jimenez a chance to get comfortable, lining a single to right to score two more runs.
Buscher had just three hits all season in 30 at-bats against left-handers entering Wednesday.
''That was huge. I'm sure he feels wonderful. I feel good for him,'' Twins' manager
won his 12th game for Minnesota, working seven innings, but twice gave up leads. His biggest mistake came in the fourth when
hit a two-run homer that barely cleared the 19-foot wall in left, just inside the foul pole. The homer came after Span had
given Minnesota a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth with a ground-rule double that scored a pair.
Perkins (12-3) also gave up a solo homer to
with two-out in the seventh that put Seattle ahead 4-3.
''Usually I pride myself that if we score some runs, I don't give up the lead. That wasn't the case today,'' Perkins said.
''I'm thankful the guys picked me up and picked the team up.''
Notes: The Twins are halfway through their astonishing 14-game road trip thanks to the Republican National Convention. ...
In eight games against Seattle this season, Kubel hit 17-of-28 (.607) with three homers and 10 RBIs. ... Former Seattle Seahawks
OL Chris Gray, who retired during training camp because of a back injury, threw out the first pitch. ... Seattle went past
2 million in attendance, reaching the mark for the 12th consecutive season.