For a while, it seemed as if the Minnesota Twins might never score another run.
Entering Friday's game against the Seattle Mariners, the Twins had been shut out by the Los Angeles Angels in back-to-back games. The lowest point came Wednesday, when Minnesota was no-hit by Jered Weaver.
The Twins' scoreless streak ran to 25 innings Friday, as Minnesota failed to score through six innings against Mariners starter Jason Vargas. According to the Twins' media relations department, the last time the Twins had a scoreless streak of 25 or more innings was back in 1994, when they went 26 innings without a run from July 31 to August 3.
With three runs in the seventh inning, however, the Twins avoided a similar fate, snapping the drought at 25 innings en route to a 3-2 win at Safeco Field that ended a three-game losing streak.
"Obviously to score some runs late and then close the door is big for this ball club," said Joe Mauer, who drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. "We were in dire need of a win."
Before the series earlier this week against the Angels, the Twins hadn't been shut out at all this season. But Tuesday, Los Angeles starter Jerome Williams tossed a complete game shutout in a 4-0 Angels win. One day later, Minnesota was on the wrong side of history as Jered Weaver pitched a no-hitter.
Leading up to this week, though, Minnesota's offense wasn't the problem as the Twins sputtered to a 6-18 start -- the starting pitching was. Even though the Twins' pitchers were giving up plenty of runs, Minnesota's hitters were still capable of scoring six or seven runs a game to make things interesting.
Friday, starter Carl Pavano allowed just two runs in six innings, and a combination of Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins and Matt Capps pitched three scoreless innings. It was the first time this season Minnesota had allowed fewer than three runs in a game.
It was a good thing, too, because three runs was all the Twins could muster Friday against Seattle. Nearly all of Minnesota's offense came in one inning. Chris Parmelee lifted a double deep to left-center field with one out. His double was followed by walks to Alexi Casilla and Trevor Plouffe to load the bases.
With the bases full and just one out, Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen barehanded a tapper back to the mound by Twins center fielder Denard Span. While Wilhelmsen could have easily thrown to home plate for at least one out, he chose to throw to second base to try for the double play. His throw went wide, allowing all runners to advance safely and scoring Parmelee for the Twins' first run since the eighth inning of Monday's game against Los Angeles.
"It takes the monkey off your back," said acting manager Scott Ullger, who is filling for Ron Gardenhire this series as Gardenhire is back in Minnesota for his daughter's college graduation. "You put added pressure on yourself to score runs. We were going to try to manufacture runs if we weren't able to score. Fortunately, we had some good at-bats that inning and we got (those) three runs."
One batter later, shortstop Jamey Carroll -- who saved a run in the game with a nice defensive play -- hit into a fielder's choice that scored Casilla. Mauer then reached on a single up the middle that shortstop Brendan Ryan couldn't quite handle.
That third run proved to be the difference. None of the Twins' three runs were scored on balls that were hit particularly hard. Two didn't even make it out of the infield.
But with a team struggling to score like the Twins were, however, they'll take the runs however they can get them.
"We just put pressure on them, getting guys on and hopefully things can happen," Mauer said. "They walked a couple guys and I was able to get up there with some guys in scoring position. ... It was a good all-around win today."
Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.
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