Nelson Cruz delivered a game-winning double to deep center field with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Minnesota Twins recorded a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night at Minneapolis.
Minnesota had runners on second and third when Cruz blasted a 1-1 pitch from Pirates right-hander Nick Burdi (0-1). The ball landed on the warning track and bounced against the wall as Jorge Polanco easily scored from third.
Cruz and Max Kepler each had three hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who trailed 4-0 after five innings. Minnesota has won four straight games and seven of its past eight.
Pittsburgh lost its fifth consecutive game.
Cole Tucker homered for the Pirates while Phillip Evans and Guillermo Heredia each had two hits in the first of four straight games between the teams. The last two contests are slated for Pittsburgh.
Left-hander Taylor Rogers (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for Minnesota.
Polanco started the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit looping single to left off Burdi. He advanced to second on a passed ball by Jacob Stallings before Mitch Garver walked. Both runners moved up on Luis Arraez's fly out to right-center prior to Cruz's decisive hit.
Tucker slugged the first pitch of the game from left-hander Lewis Thorpe over the wall in left-center for his first career leadoff homer.
The Pirates made it 2-0 in the second inning on three consecutive one-out singles. Evans and Heredia had the first two before Stallings singled to left to score Evans.
Pittsburgh tacked on another run in the fourth when Erik Gonzalez slammed an RBI double off the wall in right-center.
The Pirates increased their advantage to 4-0 in the fifth when Evans delivered a two-out, run-scoring single.
Pirates left-hander Derek Holland blanked Minnesota before allowing an RBI single to Cruz with two outs in the sixth. Holland followed by walking Miguel Sano before Kepler hit a liner to center. Tucker took a step in and couldn't recover as the ball landed over his head for a two-run double.
Left-hander Miguel Del Pozo replaced Holland and issued back-to-back walks to load the bases. He then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Kepler to score from third to tie the score.
Holland was charged with all four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and two walks while striking out five.
Thorpe departed after four innings. He gave up three runs, six hits and four walks and struck out three.
--Field Level Media