Twins fall in extras after eight scoreless innings from Pelfrey

Starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey pitched eight scoreless innings for the Twins in Sunday's loss.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins had one hit through eight innings. But Brian Dozier said his teammates were swinging well and that they need to be a little more convincing at the plate if they want to hold onto the American League’s second wild-card spot.

Dozier’s homer in the bottom of the ninth tied the game 1-1, but Logan Morrison’s RBI double in the 11th broke the tie and Austin Jackson added a two-run double as Seattle outlasted the Twins 4-1 on Sunday.

The loss closed a disappointing 3-6 homestand for the Twins, who hit the road Monday in Toronto. The Blue Jays beat first-place Kansas City on Sunday and trail Minnesota by one game for the final playoff spot.

"We’ve got to bounce back quickly," manager Paul Molitor said. "There’s not a lot of time to dwell on what’s transpired here."

Reliever Kevin Jepsen (2-6) lost his Minnesota debut after being picked up before Friday’s trading deadline. Jepsen walked two batters but did strike out Nelson Cruz with two runners on. Fernando Rodney (4-4) pitched around a walk in the 10th, and Tom Wilhelmsen allowed a leadoff double in the 11th before recording his second save in as many chances.

The Twins managed only 11 hits over three games following their series-opening 9-5 win on Thursday night.

"You look up in the seventh, eighth inning, you only have one or two hits, but offensively I thought we actually swung it pretty decent," Dozier said.

It was Dozier’s 23rd homer of the season and it came off Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who had allowed just two baserunners until the ninth. Until that point, Iwakuma hadn’t allowed a run to Minnesota in his first five career starts and entered the ninth with a span of 42 straight scoreless innings.

"We didn’t use the whole field which you need to do on a guy like that," Molitor said. "When you’re not throwing particularly hard, guys get a little anxious and roll over a lot of pitches and we just kind of did what he wanted us to do."

Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, who had lost five straight decisions, retired 15 of the final 17 hitters he faced and got 16 outs on groundballs before leaving after eight innings.

Twins closer Glen Perkins has allowed runs in four of his six outings since the All-Star break after giving up just five runs in 38 games before it. Facing a 3-0 count, Cruz broke a 0-0 tie in the top of the ninth off Perkins with his 29th home run of the season, deep off the batter’s eye in center field.

"I’m not going to put him on, I’m not going to give in to him," Perkins said. "The least likely outcome for him there is a home run. He just happened to hit it. I take my chances, and it didn’t work out."

With Tommy Milone going on the DL for the Twins, RHP Tyler Duffey will make his major league debut on Tuesday at Toronto. Minnesota considered top prospect Jose Berrios and LHP Taylor Rogers but wanted a right-hander against the Blue Jays and believed Duffey was better prepared than Berrios.

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"We think where he’s at and how he’s been pitching, a guy we don’t think’s going to be intimidated or fearful of challenging a major-league lineup, even one like Toronto playing in their park," Molitor said.

Reliever Ryan Pressly was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Duffey. Pressly is nearing a return to throwing but wasn’t expected to be ready to return until the 60-day timeline anyway with a strained muscle near his shoulder.

Minnesota begins an important four-game series at Toronto with RHP Ervin Santana (2-1, 3.78) facing new Blue Jays LHP David Price (9-4, 2.53). Santana allowed eight runs — six earned — in a loss to Pittsburgh. Price will be making his Toronto debut.