It looked like the Minnesota Twins were on pace for their fourth win in five games on Saturday night, as they took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, but it was not to be. The Diamondbacks put up a six spot against a bevy of Twins' relievers, and walked away with their fifth straight win after a 9-6 victory over Minnesota.
The Twins once again got on the board first thanks to Danny Valencia's solo home run in the top of the second, which gave the Twins a 1-0 lead. Arizona tied it in the bottom of the fourth, after Miguel Montero drew a two-out walk from Twins' starter Scott Baker, and came around to score on Juan Miranda's RBI double.
Minnesota took the lead back in the top of the fifth, as Delmon Young led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Micah Owings. Denard Span then grounded one to Diamondbacks' second baseman Kelly Johnson, who threw wildly to first, allowing Span to reach safely and allowing Young to score to make it 2-1. The Twins extended their lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth, as Jason Kubel led off the inning with a home run, and Valencia singled to score Justin Morneau.
The Diamondbacks cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Stephen Drew and Chris Young led off the inning with consecutive doubles, making the score 4-2. Later in the inning, Gerardo Parra reached on a bunt single that scored Young from third, and the Twins' lead was cut to 4-3.
Things stayed that way until the top of the eighth, when the Twins scored two more runs when the Diamondbacks made three errors in a two at-bat span. Jason Kubel led the inning off with a single, and Justin Morneau grounded into a fielder's choice that saw Kubel forced out at second. Michael Cuddyer then reached on an error by Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, putting runners on first and second. Valencia then singled to right, scoring Morneau. Justin Upton's throw home was off the mark, which was scored as one error as it allowed Valencia to advance to second. Diamondbacks' pitcher Aaron Heilman, who was backing up home plate on the play, thought he could get Valencia trying to advance to second, and he threw errantly as well, allowing Cuddyer to come around to score, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.
The inning started with Joe Nathan, who had pitched an impressive 1-2-3 seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Chris Young. Ron Gardenhire then took Nathan out in favor of Glen Perkins. Perkins allowed a single to Miguel Montero, and then had to be lifted due to a strained oblique muscle. Gardenhire said after the game that Perkins was headed for the disabled list. In came closer Matt Capps, who gave up a two-run double to Juan Miranda to make the score 6-5. Gerardo Parra advanced on a bunt single to third base, and pinch hitter Josh Wilson bunted into a fielder's choice that resulted in a force out at third base.
Ryan Roberts singled to left-center to load the bases, and Kelly Johnson atoned for his earlier error by blasting a grand slam to right field, making the score 9-6 in favor of the Diamondbacks. Arizona closer J.J. Putz then retired the Twins in the ninth to give the Diamondbacks the victory.
Arizona committed five errors on the evening, but it still wasn't enough to help the Twins to a victory on this night. Aaron Heilman wound up with the victory for the Diamondbacks, raising his record on the season to 3-0, and Putz's save was his eleventh of the year. Capps took the loss for the Twins, dropping him to 1-3 on the season and getting him credited with his third blown save of the season.
The Twins will try to salvage the finale of the series on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field. First pitch from Arizona is scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time. The Twins will send Francisco Liriano (3-5, 6.12 ERA) to the mound, and the Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Daniel Hudson (4-5, 4.03 ERA).