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Nationals’ bats stay quiet in 4-3 11-inning loss to Minnesota
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a day that had already featured a pair of marathon games elsewhere in baseball and a doubleheader the next day, the Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals needed to end extra innings in a hurry.
Ryan Doumit made sure they did.
“With a split doubleheader tomorrow, the last thing we need on both sides was to go deep into extra innings,” Doumit said. “I was fortunate that I got a pitch to hit there in the 11th and put a good swing on it.”
The Twins, who were playing their first game in Washington since 1971, have won eight of 11.
Pinch hitter Chris Hermann drew a walk off Craig Stammen (3-2) to open the 11th. Jamey Carroll bunted him to second and Mauer was intentionally walked. Doumit then hit a soft line drive to short center, scoring Hermann.
“It’s a nice little cherry on top. I think anybody that kind of follows the game and has a good idea, you knew that that was going to happen,” Doumit said of getting the hit after the walk to Mauer. “You knew that once Jamey bunted and Joe’s a career .395 hitter or whatever he is.”
Doumit has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, batting .319 (15 for 47) with three doubles, five home runs and 16 runs batted in.
“He’s been swinging the bat really good and we had some opportunities,” Gardenhire said.
“It’s very frustrating,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. “It’s getting my dander up. We’re better than this.”
The Nationals collected 10 hits, but went just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“We got some hits, but didn’t string them together,” said Adam LaRoche. “We need to start getting three and four in an inning, pushing some guys across.”
Trailing 3-2, the Nationals tied it against Twins starter Kevin Correia in the seventh.
Anthony Rendon led off with a single and was bunted to second. Kurt Suzuki hit a high bouncer that shortstop Pedro Florimon charged, but he was unable to come up with it and Rendon scored while Suzuki raced to second with a double as the ball rolled into left field.
“Whether he looked off of it or whatever, he just missed the ball. He’s got to at least the put the glove on it,” Gardenhire said.
Correia pitched 6 1-3 innings in his best start in over a month, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out a season-high seven and didn’t walk a batter.
Mauer broke a 2-2 tie when he hit a solo homer off Washington starter Gio Gonzalez with one out in the fifth.
Gonzalez gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out seven. He’s winless in his last six starts despite allowing more than two earned runs only once during that stretch.
Minnesota came back with two in the fourth. After Josh Willingham singled off Ryan Zimmerman’s glove, Justin Morneau hit a smash toward first that got by LaRoche. Willingham scored from first as the ball rolled to the right-field corner.
“”I didn’t make the play. I gave them that one, cost us the game,” LaRoche said. “So that one’s on me.”
Morneau ended up on second on the error and, after Aaron Hicks walked, scored when Brian Dozier singled past a diving Zimmerman.
NOTES: The Twins last played in Washington on July 19, 1971, when they lost 5-2 to the Senators. The Minnesota franchise began play in 1901 as the original Washington Senators and left D.C. after the 1960 season. … Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (right lat strain) threw a bullpen session Saturday. Manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg had no symptoms from the injury and is on track to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Colorado and start at Cleveland on June 16. … Johnson said OF Bryce Harper (bursitis) reported the swelling in his left knee was down. Harper will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for a second opinion on the ailing knee. . Mauer’s homer was career number 100. … Willingham’s run was the 500th of his career. … The Nationals‘ Ian Desmond extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … LHP Scott Diamond (4-4, 4.66) will start the opener of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader for the Twins against RHP Jordan Zimmerman (8-3, 2.16). In the night game, a makeup of Friday’s rainout, Minnesota’s RHP Samuel Deduno (2-1, 3.44) will go against RHP Nate Karns (0-1, 6.00).
By Tammy Bruce
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