Span's single makes Twins walk-off winners

Span's single makes Twins walk-off winners

Span's single makes Twins walk-off winners
MINNEAPOLIS -- It took 15 innings and a 42-minute rain delay, but there was finally a winner in the longest game in Target Field's three-year history on Sunday.

Denard Span hit a walk-off RBI single off of Juan Perez to help Minnesota avoid a three-game sweep, with a 5-4 win over the Brewers on a rainy Sunday at Target Field in a game that lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes.

Span's two-out single to right field scored Brian Dozier, who singled with one out, after Trevor Plouffe opened the inning with a single against reliever Tim Dillard. Plouffe, though, was caught in a rundown trying to score from second on a single from Jamey Carroll.

"I was just trying to get us to dinner," Span joked. "We had a long day. Most of us were up since 8 this morning, so we were exhausted and ready to eat. I just could tell looking at everybody's faces in the dugouts that they wanted somebody to come through. So I'm just thankful to God I was able to do that."

Span's big hit made up for it, and came after a 42-minute rain delay in between the 11th and 12th innings. The Twins had threatened to score in the 11th, but Span stranded Doumit at third base by grounding out to end the inning.

This time, however, Span came through and he even called his shot, according to Ben Revere, who was due up next.

"He told me he was ready to send us home," said Revere, who made three highlight-reel catches, including a diving play at the warning track to rob Aramis Ramirez of extra bases in the 12th. "But then I saw him go down 0-2 and I was freaking out. But I still believed him, and was so excited to see the ball go through the hole."

The Twins rallied in the seventh, scoring three runs off of Zack Greinke. Carroll got it started with a two-out single to score Plouffe, who led off the frame with a walk.

Revere added an RBI single of his own before Joe Mauer provided the game-tying single. Mauer, who has been bothered by a sore right hamstring and quad, left the game for pinch-runner Darin Mastroianni after the hit.

"I just left too many balls over the plate kind of, especially that one inning," Greinke said. "Most of their hits were on mistakes, just catching too much of the plate. Their approach was good -- not trying to do too much with the ball."

It helped bail out right-hander Nick Blackburn, who pitched in and out of trouble seemingly every inning, and finally paid for it in the fifth. It started when he allowed a leadoff double to Norichika Aoki, and then Nyjer Morgan reached on his second bunt hit of the game.

Blackburn was able to get Ryan Braun to pop out, and he struck out Aramis Ramirez for the second out, but then he gave up an opposite-field blast to Hart on a 3-2 sinker.

"It was a mistake," Blackburn said. "It was quite a blow right there to see that ball go out. Unfortunately, you're not going to throw every pitch perfectly, and the timing of that pitch was bad."

The three-run blast broke a 1-1 tie, as the Brewers took an early lead on an RBI single from Ramirez in the first, before the Twins evened it with an RBI single from Joe Mauer in the third.

After Blackburn exited, Minnesota's bullpen combined to throw nine shutout innings. Alex Burnett, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak each threw one inning, while Glen Perkins tossed two and Jeff Gray pitched three.

"It was big," Gray said. "Our bullpen has been solid all year. We feed off each other. So we were able to go out and do our jobs."

Both teams struggled with runners in scoring position, as the Brewers left 17 men on base, while the Twins stranded 15.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Twins. They finished their nine-game homestand with a 4-5 record.

"It was a long baseball game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Both bullpens did a lot of pitching. So it was just one of those things where it was nice we were able to come out on top."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.