Twins rally to avoid sweep
SEATTLE -- Denard Span's throw had to be perfect, and it was. Brian Buscher had to forget his season-long struggles against left-handers, and he did. Glen Perkins couldn't afford to hiccup during an impressive streak. He didn't. Those three rooki...
SEATTLE -- Denard Span's throw had to be perfect, and it was.
Brian Buscher had to forget his season-long struggles against left-handers, and he did.
Glen Perkins couldn't afford to hiccup during an impressive streak. He didn't.
Those three rookies showed remarkable poise Wednesday, as Minnesota defeated Seattle 6-5 at Safeco Field.
The Twins avoided getting swept by the American League's worst team.
"I'm glad we got a victory and can get out of here, man," Span said. "I don't like this place."
The Twins, who open a four-game series in Oakland tonight, were 1-4 in Seattle and trailed 4-3 when Raul Ibanez smashed a home run off Perkins with two outs in the seventh.
"It was very frustrating in a spot like that," Perkins said. "I feel like I should have made a better pitch to him."
But the Twins scored three runs in the eighth, giving Perkins (12-3) the win, as he improved to 10-1 in his last 13 starts.
Jason Kubel tied it with an RBI double. Then, with one out and runners at second and third, Manager Ron Gardenhire sent Buscher to pinch hit for Brendan Harris.
Mariners skipper Jim Riggleman countered with left-hander Cesar Jimenez, and the Twins looked like they had just been out-maneuvered.
Buscher was batting .100 against lefties -- 3-for-30 with nine strikeouts.
"Their lefty was hiding back there in the corner," Gardenhire said.
Indeed, a big green wall obstructs the view from the visitor's dugout into the Mariners' bullpen. The Twins had seen a left-hander warming -- just not right then.
They thought Buscher, a .350 hitter against right-handers, would be hitting against righty Sean Green.
Buscher lined the first pitch from Jimenez for the two-run, go-ahead single.
On Monday, Gardenhire had pulled Buscher aside, telling him to relax and forget the numbers. The Twins had just shown their faith when they jettisoned Mike Lamb, eating $3.8 million, instead of sending Buscher to Class AAA Rochester to clear a roster spot for Eddie Guardado.
Two days later, Buscher delivered.
"I'm sure he feels wonderful," Gardenhire said. "I feel wonderful for him."
But the Mariners were not finished. They rallied with two outs in the eighth against Guardado.
It was 6-5 when Miguel Cairo singled with pinch-runner Tug Hulett on second base. Span charged from right field and threw a no-hop strike to catcher Mike Redmond, who applied the tag.
Span, Redmond and Guardado all pumped their fists, and it was a mad scene as Span approached the dugout.
Guardado slapped Span affectionately in the face, saying, "Way to pick me up, kid!"
That pretty much summed up the whole day.