Worth the wait: Colabello's first big league home run wins it for Twins

 

– It took a while, but the Twins took down King Felix and his court on Friday.

First they ruined his shutout bid with Trevor Plouffe’s pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth. Then they outlasted the Mariners in extra innings, as Chris Colabello’s two run homer in the 13th gave the Twins a 3-2 victory.

It couldn’t have been a better spot for Colabello’s first major league home run. He endured seven seasons of independent league ball and one season at Class AA New Britain last year before finally getting his big-league shot this season. He was batting .135 in 13 games before entering the game as a pinch hitter in the eight inning on Friday. He grounded into a double play.

After Aaron Hicks led off the 13th with a single, Colabello slammed the first pitch he saw from Yoervis Medina into the right field seats.

Closer Glen Perkins gave up a leadoff homer to Kendrys Moralez in the bottom of the 13th, but helped bail himself out by coaxing Justin Smoak to hit into a double play and got his 25th save. Dustin Ackley then hit a wicked grounder up the middle that shortstop Pedro Florimon initially bobbled, then recovered in time to throw him out and end the game.

Earlier the Twins were on their way to being mincemeat at the hands of Seattle starter Felix Hernandez when they found a way to ruin the ace righthander’s night.

After being dominated for eight innings Friday, the Twins got a megaclutch game-tying RBI single from Trevor Plouffe in the ninth.

Florimon led off the inning with a single to left. Brian Dozier bunted him to second, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire looked down his bench and went to Plouffe, who was 1-for-19 over his past six games with 10 strikeouts. On an 0-2 pitch, Plouffe blooped a Hernandez pitch into center field as Florimon scored the tying run.

And on to extra innings they went. Before that, Hernandez was on his way to another masterpiece against the Twins. He was working on a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts heading into the ninth.

Mauer to extend leave

Twins catcher Joe Mauer has decided to spend more time with his wife and newborn twin daughters and will not join the team for the final two games of its series in Seattle.

Mauer spoke with Twins General Manager Terry Ryan on Thursday night to inform him of his decision.

“He decided that it is best for his family,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “We support that and it wouldn’t be any different with any other player if they decided they needed another day or two.”

The Twins said the babies, named Emily and Maren, are doing well. But they were born five weeks premature, which often leads to extra attention. The daughters, as well as Mauer’s wife, Maddie, remain at an area hospital.

Mauer currently is on the league’s three-day paternity leave list. Starting Saturday, he will automatically move to the restricted list. He will be taken off following Sunday’s game and is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday when the Twins play host to Kansas City at Target Field.

Mauer will not be paid for the two days he will be on the restricted list, costing him $251,366.12 in salary.

“Any decision that comes to this is a family decision that’s made,” Antony said, “and we understand that there’s a lot more than this game.”

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