MINNEAPOLIS — Ryan Doumit has been in a groove lately. The Twins catcher had a stretch of four straight multi-RBI games earlier this week as he helped Minnesota win four straight against Milwaukee.
After going 0-for-4 on Friday against the Mariners, Doumit found his groove again — in dramatic fashion.
With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Doumit delivered a walk-off triple (yes, triple) on a drive to the gap in right-center field. The seventh triple of Doumit’s career scored Eduardo Escobar from second and Joe Mauer from first for the winning run as the Twins topped Seattle 5-4.
“Guys kept playing,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “A big hit by Doum there. Some big hits leading up to that, and a big one in the gap, and run Joe, run, as we were saying in the dugout. A good win for us.”
Before Doumit stepped to the plate in the ninth, the Twins exercised patience against Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen. Pedro Florimon drew a leadoff walk and was followed by walks to Escobar and Mauer. After a Josh Willingham sacrifice fly scored Florimon, Doumit stepped to the plate against a pitcher who was struggling to find the strike zone.
Doumit got ahead in the count 2-0 before Wilhelmsen evened it at 2-2. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Doumit connected for his biggest hit of the season on a 95 mph fastball.
“You’ve got to know your role as a hitter,” Doumit said. “Some guys are up there to try to get on base. Some guys are up there to try to do some damage. I was hitting cleanup today. I was up there to do some damage.”
Doumit, in his second year with the Twins, entered Saturday’s game batting just .218. But his 25 RBI were tied with Josh Willingham for second-most on the team, behind Justin Morneau’s 34.
After eight RBI in four games against the Brewers, Doumit collected two more RBI on Saturday to cap what has been a solid week for the veteran. He finished Saturday’s game 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and, of course, the walk-off triple.
“He’s big in that lineup,” Gardenhire said. “He was scuffling a little bit early, trying to find his swing and get a better feel for it. I think you’re seeing the guy we had last year that drove in a lot of runs and did a lot of good for us. None bigger than that one today, that was a huge hit.”
Doumit said he didn’t know right away that his hit to the gap in right-center was going to be the game-winner. A light rain had been falling on and off throughout the game, including the ninth inning when Doumit was at the plate. But Mauer was off with the contact and slid across home plate for the game-winning run.
“It’s tough to score from first base in wet conditions,” Doumit said. “That’s a testament to Joe. A lot of things had to go right, I felt, and it did.”
Shortly after Doumit’s walk-off hit, he was doused with a cooler full of red Gatorade by Brian Dozier. Moments later, Chris Parmelee snuck up on Doumit with a shaving cream pie to the face. Doumit still had remnants of the shaving cream on the back of his head in the clubhouse after the game.
Prior to Friday, the Twins had gained some momentum after four straight wins against Milwaukee. That came to a halt when Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma and the Seattle bullpen blanked Minnesota in a 3-0 win.
Less than 24 hours later, a walk-off win was just what the Twins needed to get back on track.
“You can’t describe it,” Doumit said. “To be able to get the game-winning hit is awesome.”