The Twins' Oswaldo Arcia, right, celebrated with closer Glen Perkins after the 8-6 victory over the White Sox in Chicago on Saturday night.

Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press


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Arcia comes through as Twins end three-game skid

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • August 3, 2014 - 12:12 AM

– Oswaldo Arcia decelerated into second, looked into the Twins dugout and thrust both hands in the air as if he signaled a touchdown.

Well, his two-run double in the eighth inning on Saturday gave the Twins runs Nos. 6 and 7. But his gesture was more a sign of exaltation after a frustrating run of at-bats in which manager Ron Gardenhire said, “He’s trying to hit the ball 8,000 miles with every swing,”

Arcia kept his head down this time and lined a double that popped out of left fielder Alejandro De Aza’s glove. Just like that, a game the Twins seemed destined to lose became an 8-6 victory and a pick-me-up for a club in the middle of a lousy road trip.

With the Twins down 6-4 after giving up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Trevor Plouffe singled, Josh Willingham was hit with a pitch, then Kurt Suzuki drove in Plouffe with a single to right.

Kennys Vargas grounded out against closer Jake Petricka to advance the runners, bringing up Arcia, who hasn’t had his batting average over .230 since June 16. On Friday, Petricka struck Arcia out to end the game with the tying run on first.

“Sinker away, sinker away,” Arcia said. “This time I’m ready for the sinker away.”

The pitch was at the knees and on the outside edge of the plate. Arcia lined it to left, with De Aza getting turned around and then watching the ball pop out of his glove and roll to the fence. Arcia needed it. His struggles at the plate were discussed before the game, particularly his .155 average against lefthanders. That’s when Gardenhire basically called Arcia the human fan.

“He swings so hard, I don’t know any way possible your head can be on the ball,” Gardenhire said. “The good swings, to this point, have been the swings where he actually shoots the ball the other way or a little line drive to right field, where he doesn’t try to go crazy and kill it.”

After the game, Gardenhire gushed. “[Arcia] can drive the all over the ballpark,” he said. “That was a big hit for our baseball team. That was big for him, too.”

With a victory Sunday, the Twins now can win the series and finish the road trip with a 3-3 record, which would be a heck of a lot better than how things looked in the seventh inning Saturday. They had problems throwing to the right base at least twice and the bullpen struggled for the third night in a row.

The Twins led 4-2 going into the seventh, but Gardenhire needed four pitchers to get three outs in the inning as Chicago claimed a 6-4 lead. Brian Duensing’s first and only pitch of the night became a two-run double by Adam Eaton. Jared Burton’s first pitch to Gordon Beckham became an RBI double. Alexei Ramirez added a run-scoring single.

The Twins’ three-run eighth snatched the lead right back. Casey Fien, one of the culprits in Friday’s loss, got the first two outs in the eighth but inexplicably walked the No. 9 hitter, backup catcher Adrian Nieto. Then Eaton singled to left. Uh-oh.

But Eaton must have thought the throw was going to the wrong base again. He dug for second. Left fielder Eduardo Nunez fired to Brian Dozier, who tagged Eaton out to end the inning, and the threat.

“That was huge,” Gardenhire said. “A couple times earlier in the game, we threw home trying to get a guy at home plate rather than throw the ball to second and hold the man at first. That just puts more people in scoring position. Nunez came up and did the right thing with the baseball and we ended up getting Eaton.”

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