Dozier hits walk-off home run as Twins beat Marlins 6-4
MINNEAPOLIS -- There's plenty of room left on Minnesota's highlight film for 2016.
Brian Dozier and the bullpen claimed spots on the tape Tuesday night with the type of clutch performances that have been largely missing for the Twins.
Dozier's two-out, two-run home run in the 11th inning gave the Twins a 6-4 victory over the Miami Marlins, the third game-ending homer in Dozier's career and just the second win for the Twins in their last eight games.
"You always want to be in those situations. If you don't, something's wrong with you," said Dozier, who has struggled to regain his All-Star form of 2015.
Dustin McGowan (0-2) walked Joe Mauer and gave up the drive to Dozier to take the loss for the Marlins, who led 4-3 until Robbie Grossman's home run off David Phelps in the eighth.
"Anytime you have the lead you want to be able to close the door at the end of the game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "So they sting a little bit."
Fernando Abad struck out the side for the Twins in the 10th inning, lowering his ERA to 0.87 in 26 appearances. Buddy Boshers (1-0), their eighth pitcher of the game, struck out two batters in the 11th for his first major league victory.
The Twins bullpen, which began the game with the second-highest opponent batting average (.279) in the majors, logged 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and three hits allowed.
"You try not to think about that stuff. You've just got to go out there and try to execute your pitches, and ultimately the zeroes will come," Boshers said.
Eduardo Nunez hit two fastballs from Marlins starter Adam Conley for home runs, and Grossman doubled and scored in a two-run first inning. Dozier picked them up at the end with his deep drive.
"You just kind of hope that he catapults himself at some point where he's contributing every day with the bat," manager Paul Molitor said. "It's one of those things where he's putting work in. It's just when you're trying to make changes it's tough to do it on the fly."
Sparked by a single from the ageless Ichiro Suzuki, the first batter of the game, the Marlins scored in all but one of five innings against Twins starter Pat Dean. Adeiny Hechavarria tripled to start the third and came home on a wild pitch. Martin Prado hit the first of his two doubles in the fifth inning, before Christian Yelich's RBI single.
Nunez, who led off for Minnesota in a game last week with an inside-the-park home run, hit the second pitch from Conley into the third deck above left field.
"They stuck to their plan, and they were going to be on the heater no matter what," Conley said.
Then with two outs in the fifth, Nunez hit one into the bullpen behind right-center to pull the Twins within 4-3.
The 28-year-old Nunez, a utility man when the season began, has fast become this lost-cause team's best All-Star Game candidate. In his last 13 games, Nunez is batting .407 (24 for 59). His nine home runs are third on the team, accounting for one-third of his career total.
The 42-year-old Suzuki, who moved within 32 hits of 3,000 for his major league career, was in his fourth season in 2004 when Molitor was hired as Seattle's hitting coach. The post lasted only one year, as he was fired after the team's 63-99 finish, but Suzuki set the all-time season record with 262 hits.
Miami: Stanton was the cleanup hitter again after batting fifth last weekend and getting a rest Sunday. Stanton is 1 for 19 in five June games, dropping the three-time All-Star's batting average to .197.
Minnesota: RHP Kyle Gibson, whose DL stay for a strained shoulder was delayed last week by a stiff back, has been cleared to start Saturday against Boston. Gibson last pitched April 22.
Miami: LHP Wei-Yin Chin (3-2, 4.25 ERA) will take the mound Wednesday in the middle game of the series. He has a 2.96 ERA in four road starts this season.
Minnesota: RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-4, 4.93 ERA) will face the Marlins, the team he debuted with and pitched for for nearly eight seasons.