Twins pull away in eighth for victory over Mariners

Marwin Gonzalez had had plenty of success against Mariners starter Mike Leake before Tuesday, hitting him to the tune of .571 in 14 at-bats.

But Tuesday, Gonzalez couldn’t do much of anything against him.

“He owns me now,” Gonzalez said.

So when the Mariners removed Leake, perhaps there was nobody happier than Gonzalez, who had struck out three times in as many at-bats against the Seattle starter.

And when it mattered most, Gonzalez came through for his team with a two-out single in the eighth inning to cap a three-run rally, giving the Twins the lead back in a 6-5 win at Target Field.

“I wanted to contribute to the team. I wasn’t able to touch a ball all night,” Gonzalez said. “I went up and put extra focus on that at-bat, and I got a hit.”

In a matter of just a few minutes, the Twins had turned a two-run deficit into a one-run lead, setting the hometown crowd into a frenzy.

The Twins (44-21) had been trailing since the fifth inning, but with a lineup this deep and this talented, there’s been a sense all season that they’re never really out of any game. That was the case Tuesday.

“That’s what this team has been doing all season,” Gonzalez said. “We never quit. We can score many runs in one inning and every time, that’s why we don’t give up.”

Back-to-back doubles from Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco — his third hit of the night — to lead off the eighth produced one run, and shortly after, Mariners reliever Austin Adams uncorked a wild pitch that hit off catcher Tom Murphy’s glove and popped up, allowing Polanco to score the tying run before Gonzalez’s heroics.

That made a winner of Matt Magill, who bounced back with a scoreless eighth after giving up four runs in one inning Saturday in Detroit. Trevor May allowed singles to the first two batters of the ninth but picked up his first save of the season by sending down the next three.

“Once Max gets in and you have a guy hitting .340 (Polanco) up, I just started going,” May said. “It’s always fun to make the transition in your head from holding their lead to maybe a tie game to having the lead and going in for a save situation.  Just a lot of fun.”

Before that, the Mariners (28-42) had been leading since the fifth inning after going ahead on a Daniel Vogelbach single off Martin Perez. Perez, in his five innings, gave up a three-run home run to Edwin Encarnacion two innings earlier.

In the fourth, the Twins’ Jonathan Schoop and Jason Castro went back-to-back to tie the score. It marked the seventh time this season the Twins have gone back-to-back. Those were the only three runs Leake gave up in his seven innings pitched.

“I think Leake threw the ball pretty well for them. I think he mixed his pitches well, kept us a little off balance. I also think we hit some balls hard, just couldn’t get anything going at times and that’s OK,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s always going to happen, but I think we stayed on it and we went out there in the later innings and I think continued to have the good quality at-bats that we’ve had the whole game and it kind of broke out.


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