Mariners 8, Twins 7(10)

Defensive miscues cost the Twins a chance to beat the Seattle
Mariners.

Former Twin Luis Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th
inning and the Seattle Mariners beat Minnesota 8-7 on Monday night.
It was the Twins’ fourth straight loss.

Jim Thome returned from the disabled list and homered twice –
including a 465-foot shot that bounced high in the air after
landing on the Target Field pavilion in the fourth inning. His line
drive that just cleared the wall in left field put the Twins ahead
7-4 in the seventh, but a shaky inning from rookie shortstop Trevor
Plouffe exposed the Twins’ ragged bullpen and opened the door for
the Mariners’ comeback.

”Mistakes, we talk about it all the time – the fundamentals,
get the outs you’re supposed to,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. ”We didn’t do that, and it overshadowed a great night by Jim
Thome.”

With one out and a man on second in the eighth, Jack Wilson hit
what looked like a routine ground ball, but Plouffe sat back, then
had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and was charged with
an error.

Then, after Adam Kennedy’s RBI single, Plouffe let Ichiro
Suzuki’s blooper to fall between him and second base, allowing
Wilson to score to cut Minnesota’s lead to 7-6.

”I don’t really know the thinking there, but I know that ball
has to be caught in the air,” Gardenhire said. ”Those are two
plays that have to be made and it cost us a lot. It cost us our
bullpen, it cost us a ballgame.”

Plouffe, who also went 0-for-5 at the plate, said the problem
was a lack of aggressiveness on defense.

”I was passive, and when you let teams have extra outs it’s
never good,” he said. ”Tonight was definitely tough and I take a
lot of the blame for that, absolutely.”

After Carl Pavano recovered from a rocky start to retire the
final eight batters he faced, Joe Nathan allowed the two
eighth-inning runs and only recorded one out before being relieved
by Matt Capps.

Capps escaped the eighth, but Peguero lined a two-out single to
center in the ninth to score Saunders from second and tie it at
7.

Capps had a chance to catch Saunders too far off second base on
a comebacker to the mound with one out, but failed to make the
throw.

”I couldn’t get a handle on it and I sure as hell didn’t want
to throw it into center field,” Capps said. ”I felt like it was
going to be close but I just didn’t have a good handle on it. Get
the out and you’ve got two outs, and (then) if I make a better
pitch to Peguero it’s insignificant. Unfortunately, I didn’t do
that and it was significant.”

After the Twins failed to tie it in the ninth – Thome batted,
but was intentionally walked – Jack Wilson led off the 10th with a
single against reliever Anthony Swarzak (0-2) and scored on
Rodriguez’s fly to center.

Jamey Wright (1-1) worked around two walks in the ninth to earn
the win. He got Jason Repko to ground out with a runner on second
to send the game to extra innings. Brandon League pitched a perfect
inning for his 11th save in 14 chances.

After the game, Gardenhire was most concerned about how the
team’s shabby defense forced Capps to throw 31 pitches over 1 2/3
innings, a common frustration of late for the Twins, who have lost
nine straight at home.

”He threw a lot of pitches, which is pretty frustrating because
it should have been a pretty quick eighth and then go to the ninth,
but it didn’t,” Gardenhire said.

”That’s what happens – it’s just kind of like a domino effect.
A bad play here and a bad play there ends up costing you more in
the end, and it hurts you for the next game too.

NOTES: The entire Twins team circled around a large No. 3 behind
second base to honor Harmon Killebrew during a pregame ceremony.
The Twins will hold a public memorial service for Killebrew at 7
p.m. at Target Field on Thursday. … An MRI exam on Twins RHP
Kevin Slowey’s oblique did not reveal any damage, but he wasn’t
available. Slowey might be sent to Triple-A Rochester or traded so
he can again become a starter. … Minnesota C Joe Mauer and 2B
Tsuyoshi Nishioka are rehabbing in Florida and could see game
action later this week. RF Michael Cuddyer and LF Delmon Young both
left the game with injuries. Cuddyer suffered a strained hip on a
checked swing, while Young fouled a ball off his lower leg.
Gardenhire said Young would be fine, but Cuddyer would have to be
reassessed on Tuesday.