Twins use big 2nd inning to down Pirates 8-5
PITTSBURGH (AP) Brian Dozier smiled and summed the biggest moment of the game in an unusual but succinct way.
''It was a backbrrrreaker,'' the Minnesota Twins second baseman said, rolling the rs for emphasis.
Dozier scored all the way from first base on Joe Mauer's three-run single during a six-run second inning as the Twins built an early 7-0 lead the held on for an 8-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The highlight for the Pirates came in fourth inning, trailing 8-1, when Pedro Alvarez hit a 461-foot home run that landed in a boat docked along the Allegheny River beyond the right-field stands. Alvarez became just the third player to reach the water on the fly since PNC Park opened in 2001.
''Losing trumps everything else,'' Alvarez said.
After Dozier's solo shot in the first inning opened the scoring and ran his hitting streak to 10 games, Mauer's single keyed the big second inning that was capped by Trevor Plouffe's two-run home run.
Left fielder Starling Marte was late getting to the ball that dropped in short left-center field and Dozier raced home all the way from first base and beat a throw that was well off target.
''How about that? A three-run single,'' Mauer said with a grin. ''That was a great piece of baserunning by (Dozier).''
Plouffe, Kurt Suzuki and Aaron Hicks each had two hits for the Twins, who won for the third time in four games.
Ricky Nolasco (4-1) made it through 5 1-3 shaky innings to win his fourth straight start since being on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. He gave up four runs - three earned - and 10 hits and has yet to pitch into the sixth inning in any of his five starts this season.
Nolasco struck out eight with only one walk.
Glen Perkins recorded his 14th save in as many opportunities by pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Francisco Liriano (1-4) gave up both home runs and was tagged for seven runs in just two innings while losing his third consecutive start. He spent his first eight seasons with the Twins from 2005-12.
The Pirates lost for the fifth time in six games, though Josh Harrison and rookie Jung Ho Kang each had three hits. Neil Walker and Alvarez each had two of Pittsburgh's 13 hits.
Alvarez joined Houston's Daryle Ward (2002) and Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones (2013) in hitting balls on the fly into the river.
Twins: RHP Casey Fien (right shoulder soreness) will throw a bullpen Wednesday and, if all goes well, be sent out on a rehab assignment. ... LF Oswaldo Arcia (strained left hip flexor) could be ready to begin a rehab assignment by the end of the week.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was removed at the end of the fifth inning for what the team said were ''precautionary reasons'' after taking a foul tip off his mask earlier in the game. ... RHP Charlie Morton (right hip surgery) made what was expected to be the last of his three rehab starts Tuesday night, pitching 6 1-3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis and allowing two runs and two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts against Pawtucket in the International League.
Twins: RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-1) looks to bounce back from his first loss of the season in which he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings to Detroit.
Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (2-2) has never faced Minnesota but is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in six career interleague starts.