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.