MLB: Mauer homer lifts Twins in 13th
PITTSBURGH — Joe Mauer hit his first home run of the season in the 13th inning to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Mauer sent a 1-1 pitch from Antonio Bastardo over the right-field wall to give the Twins (23-17) a sweep of the two-game interleague series and their fourth win in five games. The homer came in the first baseman’s 155th at-bat.
The Twins, who are 14-5 in their last 19 games, had been held scoreless since the first inning when right fielder Torii Hunter had a three-run double for the first of his three hits.
Mauer and starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey added two hits each.
Third baseman Josh Harrison had three hits for the Pirates to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen had his fifth homer among three hits and left fielder Starling Marte doubled twice.
The Pirates (18-22) lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing (1-0) pitched one perfect inning for the win and closer Glen Perkins worked around a one-out single by McCutchen in the 13th for his major league-leading 15th save in as many opportunities.
Pelfrey gave up only one run and five hits in six innings, striking out five and walking none. The Twins are 6-2 in his eight starts.
Despite giving up the big hit to Hunter early, Pirates starter Jeff Locke lasted six innings. The left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts but remained winless in five starts since beating the Milwaukee Brewers in each of his first two outings of the season.
The Twins are 13-5 against lefty starters.
McCutchen forced extra innings with his homer, a solo shot in the eighth off reliever Blaine Boyle that knotted the score 3-3.
The Pirates got within a run in the seventh on pinch-hitter Jose Tabata’s RBI single, making him 2-for-2 with two RBIs since being called up Tuesday from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier’s 10-game hitting streak ended after he went 0-for-5.
Hunter opened the scoring by pulling a three-run double off the right-field wall with two outs in the top of the first.
Shortstop Danny Santana led off with a double and, one out later, Mauer singled and third baseman Trevor Plouffe walked to load the bases. One out later, Hunter delivered.
Marte doubled in a run in the bottom of the first for the Pirates.
NOTES: Twins RHP Casey Fien (right shoulder soreness) threw a bullpen before the game and said he felt fine. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Rochester. Fien has been on the disabled list since April 30. ... Both teams are off Thursday before opening three-game series on Friday night. Minnesota will play the White Sox in Chicago with Twins RHP Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.76 ERA) facing RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-2, 4.58 ERA). Pittsburgh will host the New York Mets with Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (5-2, 2.40 ERA) opposing rookie RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 3.18 ERA).