Willingham's single lifts Twins over Cubs in 10th
By: By Jon Krawczynski, AP Baseball Writer, Superior Telegram
MINNEAPOLIS — Josh Willingham's RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Minnesota Twins to an 8-7 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
The Twins trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth against Shawn Camp (2-3). Justin Morneau hit a tying triple to give Minnesota a chance, and Willingham scorched a single down the left-field line to win it in the 10th.
Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe homered for the Twins (23-34), who have won eight of their last 10 games as they try to climb out of the AL Central basement.
Alfonso Soriano homered twice and had three RBIs and Starlin Castro added a homer and a triple for the Cubs, who have lost 19 of their last 23 games.
Willingham's hit salvaged the night for the Twins after they wasted a chance to win the game in the ninth.
Down 7-6 against Camp, Willingham led off with a long single and scored on Morneau's triple, giving the Twins the winning run at third base with nobody out.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum had Camp walk Chris Parmelee intentionally, then pulled left fielder Joe Mather in from the outfield and put him at second base as part of a jam-packed, drawn-in infield. Alexi Casilla hit a chopper to second baseman Darwin Barney, who got pinch-runner Denard Span at home plate to keep the game tied.
Brian Dozier flew out to center field to send the game to extra innings.
Sveum went to the same configuration when Camp walked Darin Mastroianni before Ben Revere put down a sacrifice and Jamey Carroll reached on an infield hit to put runners on the corners with one out. But third baseman Ian Stewart had no chance on Willingham's hard-hit ball down the line, leaving the Twins to celebrate on the field.
Matt Capps (1-3) pitched a scoreless 10th to pick up the win and Revere had three hits in the start for Span, who had an illness.
It was another gut punch for the Cubs bullpen, which entered the night with the 24th-ranked ERA in the majors. Travis Wood gave up three runs and six hits in five innings, but Randy Wells allowed two runs and James Russell served up a solo homer to Doumit in the seventh that gave Minnesota a 6-5 lead.
Soriano hit a two-run blast off Glen Perkins in the eighth inning for his 29th career multihomer game, putting the Cubs in front. The ball landed in the third deck in left field at spacious Target Field, an estimated 440 feet from home plate.
TWIN TIPS: Soriano's first homer was the 350th of his career. ... Joe Mauer missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right thumb, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer was available to pinch hit and likely would return to the lineup on Saturday. ... Parmelee played after being called up from Triple-A Rochester earlier Friday. He took a spill over a railing and into the camera well while trying to chase down a fly ball in foul territory in the fourth inning, but wasn't hurt. ... The Twins signed second-round pick Mason Melotakis, a LHP from Northwestern State, and fourth-rounder Zach Jones, a RHP from San Jose State. ... The Twins send LHP Scott Diamond (4-1, 1.86) to the mound on Saturday for Game 2 against RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.13). Diamond has pitched at least six innings in five of his six starts. Samardzija has been lights out at home, but is just 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA on the road.