This time, Twins' offense picks up pitchers

In club's longest nine-inning game, Minnesota rallies late and tallies 19 hits

This time, Twins' offense picks up pitchers

BOSTON -- A night after the Twins won by outpitching the Red Sox at Fenway Park, this time they simply outhit them in a wild game Saturday that was the longest nine-inning game in team history at four hours, 11 minutes.

It was the kind of the win the early-season Twins likely wouldn't have pulled off, as Ricky Nolasco lasted two innings and they trailed by three runs with two outs in the seventh. But with the help of a five-run rally in the seventh, Minnesota was able to come through with an 11-9 victory while collecting a season-high 19 hits.

"You get blown out, you win 2-1 and then you get a Fenway special like today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We just tried to find a way to keep it within striking distance. [David] Price settled in there for a few innings, but we got his pitch count up there and were able to find a way to come back. There were some crazy plays and some good at-bats."

Rosario's four-hit game

The Twins actually got to Price early, tagging him for four runs in the first two innings, but the Red Sox had a five-run second to take the lead until the seventh-inning rally. The unlikely comeback was sparked by a two-out RBI triple from Max Kepler that was just out of reach of right fielder Michael Martinez, and things only got crazier from there.

Kennys Vargas followed with a bloop hit to left that Brock Holt couldn't handle, allowing Kepler to score and Vargas to reach second base. Molitor contemplated pinch-running for Vargas in a one-run game, but opted against it. It turned out to be the right move, as Eddie Rosario singled to center for his fourth hit of the night and Vargas was able to barely beat the throw home with a great slide. It was so close he was initially ruled out before the call was overturned to tie the game.

"I thought he was going to look for the inside corner of the plate, so I tried to avoid him and touch home plate with my right hand," Vargas said.

Vargas' perfect slide

Minnesota later loaded the bases, and Eduardo Nunez came through with the big hit with a two-run single into center to give the Twins a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Red Sox made it a one-run game in the seventh, but Miguel Sano added an insurance run with a solo shot.

"We played the game hard and did what we needed to do," Sano said. "We hit the ball well, we ran the bases well. We fought hard and did what we had to do to win the game."

It helped the Twins improve to 12-7 in July, and they're also second in the Majors in runs scored this month. So Molitor wasn't surprised to see the offense come alive Saturday, but said the key will be pitching better going forward.

"We preach that there's always something to play for," Molitor said. "I'm not sure where it's going to go. A lot of it has to do with our starting pitching. I think that's the main reason for why we've been able to put more wins in the win column."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.