Three Twins pitchers went to the mound in the eighth inning Tuesday, but only two threw pitches. And one of those pitches caused the Twins to lose their lead.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went to remove starter P.J. Walters with one out in the eighth. He signaled with his left arm but second base umpire Bruce Dreckman relayed the signal to the bullpen that a righthander was needed. Casey Fien came in to pitch, but had to return when Gardenhire pointed out that he wanted lefthander Brian Duensing.
It was an odd scene. Then Duensing gave up a RBI single that tied the score at 2-2.
But Justin Morneau stepped up in the eighth with a RBI single, enabling the Twins to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Phillies in front of an announced crowd of 30,104.
Clutch hits were virtually non-existent during the Twins’ recently completed six-game road trip during which they batted .119 with runners in scoring position. So Morneau’s line single to center, which scored Jamey Carroll with the winning run, couldn’t have come at a better time.
Glen Perkins pitched the ninth to earn his 14th save.
‘‘Watching TV, we saw the numbers scroll across the screen, our numbers with runners in scoring position,’’ Morneau said.
‘‘To get a big hit there and come through in a situation, it is good for the team good for everybody and hopefully it gets us rolling.’’
It helped Duensing let his hanging slider to Ryan Howard in the eighth — that drove in the tying run — roll off him much easier.
First, Duensing had to get into the game. The only reason the Twins were able to return Fien to the bullpen and bring in Duensing after the miscommunication was because home plate umpire Paul Emmel saw Gardenhire’s signal and heard him say. ‘‘Lefty,’’ twice.
Why did Dreckman signal for a righthander in the first place?
‘‘He thought it was a better move, maybe?’’ Gardenhire said.
Duensing said he tried to keep his composure as he finally was allowed to enter the game.
‘‘When I passed Casey when he was coming back in, he just looks at me and goes, ‘Is this real life?’ ’’ Duensing said. ‘‘It’s kind of hard to keep a straight face when that happens.’’
Duensing struck out Jimmy Rollins, but Howard got him with the RBI single to right. Domonic Brown grounded out to end the inning. Duensing covered his mouth with his glove and yelled into it as he walked off the field.
‘‘My job is to come in and get lefties out, and I didn’t do my job,’’ Duensing said.
Duensing was trying to hold the score at 2-1. The Twins took the lead in the fourth as consecutive doubles by Josh Willingham, Morneau and Oswaldo Arcia scored two runs.
Jamey Carroll — who had two hits and stopped an 0-for-24 slump — drew a walk to start the eighth off reliever Mike Adams (1-4) and ended up on third after a Joe Mauer single and a fielder’s choice.
Willingham fouled out before Morneau fouled off four consecutive pitches and lined a single up the middle off Antonio Bastardo to give Minnesota the lead.
Duensing (1-1) got the victory but praised Walters, who gave up one unearned run over 7 ⅓ innings on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 2.49.
‘‘A good team win,’’ Duensing said. ‘‘P.J. deserved the win. I was a little disappointed in that, but you move on.’’