April 8, 2009 in Sports

Morrow’s collapse lets Twins rally

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Alexi Casilla, left, delivered in the ninth.
(Full-size photo)

Tonight: Seattle at Minnesota, 5 TV: FSN

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins finally got their offense going in the ninth inning – with a big assist from Seattle closer Brandon Morrow.

Alexi Casilla’s two-run single capped Minnesota’s three-run rally with two outs in the ninth and the Twins beat the Mariners 6-5 on Tuesday night.

Brought in to protect a 5-3 lead, Morrow (0-1) retired his first two batters before walking the bases loaded. Miguel Batista relieved and Denard Span chopped an RBI infield single to third that made it 5-4. Casilla lined the next pitch from Batista up the middle, scoring Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher.

“It felt like we beat the White Sox,” Span said. “I was expecting champagne to be in the air when I got in the clubhouse, but it was only the first one of the season.”

Morrow stood at his locker after the game and tried his best to explain how the wheels came off so fast with two outs in the ninth.

“I was trying as hard as I could to throw it where I wanted it, but the ball just wasn’t getting there,” he said. “Hopefully, I can come back tomorrow and it won’t happen again.”

Luis Ayala (1-0) allowed a run in the top of the ninth but earned his first win with the Twins. Michael Cuddyer had two RBIs for Minnesota, which trailed 4-0 after four innings.

With one out and runners on first and third in the fifth, Twins shortstop Nick Punto fielded Jose Lopez’s grounder deep in the hole and turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play. The slick-fielding play appeared to give the Twins some momentum.

“I thought it turned around when Nicky got that double-play ball. It got us fired up,” Buscher said.

Endy Chavez and Adrian Beltre each drove in two runs for the Mariners.

Erik Bedard, making his first start for Seattle since July 4, allowed three runs over five innings and struck out eight. Bedard missed the second half of last season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Bedard watched the ninth-inning meltdown on television in the clubhouse and tried his best to find some humor in the loss.

“Yeah, it seemed a little long there in the end,” he said with a smirk. “But luckily we still got 160 left.”

Bedard was cruising until running into a jam in the fifth. With runners on second and third, he appeared to strike out Cuddyer on a 2-2 fastball that was called high by umpire Chuck Meriwether. After a foul ball, Cuddyer lined the next pitch into center, cutting the lead to 4-3.

“I thought I was struck out,” Cuddyer said.

Mariners relievers had 31 blown saves last season, a team record. The bullpen retired 11 in a row before Morrow ran into control problems in the ninth.

Despite Morrow’s struggles, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu plans to stick with him.

“It’s not easy. It’s a tough situation for him because we put him out there without a lot of innings in spring training,” Wakamatsu said. “I told him when I took him out that he’ll be back out there.”

Twins 6, Mariners 5

En.Chavez lf 523201.444
Gutierrez cf 502100.375
Griffey jr. dh 300020.167
Beltre 3b 301200.286
Branyan 1b 401001.125
J.Lopez 2b 300011.167
Johjima c 400000.143
Balentien rf 422000.500
Betancourt ss 412001.286
Totals 35511534
Minnesota ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Span rf 513201.500
Casilla 2b 501201.222
Cuddyer dh 402202.375
Morneau 1b 400001.000
Crede 3b 401002.250
D.Young lf 400001.000
Gomez cf 321011.143
J>Morales c 300003.000
Kubel ph 000010.250
Harris pr 010000—-
Punto ss 210000.250
Buscher ph 010010—-
Totals 34686312
Seattle 101200001—5110
Minnesota 000030003—680

LOB—Seattle 7, Minnesota 6. 2B—Gutierrez (1), Crede (1). 3B—Gomez (1). RBIs—En.Chavez 2 (2), Gutierrez (3), Beltre 2 (2), Span 2 (2), Casilla 2 (2), Cuddyer 2 (3). SB—En.Chavez (1), Betancourt (1), Span (1). SF—Beltre. GIDP—J.Lopez, Johjima. RLISP—Seattle 3 (En.Chavez, Branyan 2); Minnesota 3 (Morneau, D.Young 2). RMU—Chavez, Casilla. DP—Minnesota 2 (Crede, Casilla and Morneau), (Punto, Casilla and Morneau).

Bedard 563308855.40
Corcoran H, 1 200002220.00
Aardsma H, 1 10000190.00
Morrow L, 0-1 H, 1 2/3 033312840.50
Batista BS, 1 02000030.00
Blackburn 584431857.20
Humber 110001170.00
Guerrier 200001170.00
Ayala W, 1-0 121101154.50

IR-S—Batista 3-3. HBP—by Bedard (Punto). T—2:49. A—23,755 (46,632).

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