The Minnesota Twins jumped out to an early lead on Friday night against the San Diego Padres, and had to hold the Padres off late in order to get the victory. The Twins won the game 6-5, giving them their twelfth victory in the last fourteen games and cut their deficit in the American League Central to just eight games.
In the bottom of the first, Ben Revere reached on an error by Padres' second baseman Alberto Gonzalez, and Alexi Casilla kept up his hot hitting by following that up with a single. Revere was thrown out attempting to steal third, and Casilla advanced to second on a wild pitch by Padres starter Clayton Richard (2-9, 4.35). Then, the returning Joe Mauer slapped a single into center field for a base hit that brought in Casilla and gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Mauer also moved up to second on an error by Padres' center fielder Cameron Maybin on the throw back into the infield.
Mauer then came in to score on Michael Cuddyer's ground-rule double to left field, making the score 2-0 in favor of the Twins. After a walk to Delmon Young, Danny Valencia blasted a three-run homer to the second deck in left field to open the Minnesota lead up to 5-0.
San Diego got one back in the top of the third on an RBI double by Chase Headley, but the Twins responded in the bottom of the fourth when Ben Revere's single brought Jason Repko home to give Minnesota a 6-1 lead. Another RBI double by Headley in the top of the fifth made the score 6-2, and that's how things stayed until the top of the seventh.
To start the seventh, Alex Burnett came in to relieve Twins' starter Brian Duensing (4-6, 4.82 ERA). Burnett quickly got the first two outs to start the inning, and then allowed consecutive singles to Jason Bartlett and Chase Headley. Ryan Ludwick then unloaded on a Burnett offering and put it into the left field stands for a three-run home run, and suddenly a game that it looked like the Twins might run away with was a one-run affair at 6-5.
That's all the closer the Padres would get, however. Glen Perkins, who was also making his return this evening, worked a scoreless eighth inning, and Matt Capps pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up the save for Minnesota. It was the tenth save of the season for Capps.
Mauer got a hit in his first at-bat in his return, going 1-for-4 on the night, including grounding into a double play.
The same two teams will get together at Target Field on Saturday, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM Central time. The starter for the Padres will be right-hander Tim Stauffer (2-4, 3.28 ERA), while the Twins will counter with right-hander Scott Baker (4-4, 3.55 ERA).