The Twins and Mariners started the day tied for the major league lead with 127 home runs, so it wasn’t unexpected that each got big home runs Wednesday.
Not so expected was the fact that Minnesota, the best-hitting team in baseball, would be stymied by a nearly forgotten former teammate and lose on one of four errors.
Dee Gordon scored the go-ahead run when Twins catcher Mitch Garver failed to glove a throw from drawn-in first baseman C.J. Cron as the Mariners beat the Twins 9-6 in front of 25,909 at Target Field.
“I think nine out of 10 times, maybe 98 out of a hundred, Mitch makes that catch,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was probably a decent throw; maybe he had to reach for it a little bit.
“From where I was standing, I think if we execute, we get (Gordon) at home.”
Cron and Miguel Sano (2) also committed errors, all of which led to runs for Seattle, which came into the game having lost seven of its past 10 games. Daniel Vogelbach went 4 for 5 with a solo home run and two runs for the Mariners.
Left-hander Tommy Milone, who pitched parts of three seasons for the Twins (2014-16), gave up two runs on four hits and struck out seven after relieving opener Gerson Bautista with one out in the second.
“He used both sides of the plate. He made our guys pick a side and go with it because he controlled it so well,” Baldelli said of Milone. “He also had a good changeup, which we see a lot of times is the equalizer.”
Shed Long’s first career homer, a three-run shot to right in the eighth inning off Blake Parker, gave the Mariners a 6-1, lead but the Twins rallied for three runs in their half on a Max Kepler home run and run-scoring singles by Mitch Garver and Marwin Gonzalez to make it 6-4.
Migue Sano led off the ninth with a single and came home on Buxton’s 432-home run to left field off winning pitcher Anthony Bass (1-1). The Twins’ next three batters, however, grounded out weakly and the Mariners scored twice in the 10th, first on Garver’s error, then twice on fielding and throwing errors by third baseman Sano.
Gonzalez tied the score 1-1 with a home run into the second deck in left off Milone in the seventh inning. Tyler Duffey (1-1) earned the loss after giving up three runs, none earned, on a hit and walk in the 10th.
Twins starter Jose Berrios battled for 6.2 innings, stranding five runners — four at third base — until Vogelbauch hit a solo home run into the plaza behind the right-field bleachers for a 1-0 lead in the seventh. Berrios lowered his earned-run average to 3.01.
“He found a way to get us deep into that game,” Baldelli said. “That was a really quality start, in so many different ways.”
The Mariners broke the tie with a five-run eighth inning that right-hander Trevor May started with a leadoff walk to Edwin Encarnacion. He advanced to third on Vogelbach’s double and scored on a long sacrifice fly to center by Domingo Santana.
Baldelli replaced May with Blake Parker, the team leader with nine saves, but the results were worse. He was greeted by a single by Omar Narvaez before inducing a grounder to first from Gordon. It bounced under the glove of C.J. Cron, however, putting two on for Long.
“The guys stuck with the plan and were able to get some good swings and some runs,” Baldelli said. “The mood was good, the energy was good, we just didn’t get the win tonight.”