It never seemed like a game the Twins could win.
Twins rookie righthander Cole De Vries was bothered by baserunners for most of his outing. Oakland rookie righthander Jarrod Parker navigated the Twins lineup like a 10-year veteran. The Twins bullpen coughed up runs. Ben Revere couldn't get a bunt down.
The game dragged on. The Twins walked nine batters. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was baffled how they weren't trailing by more than two runs late in the game.
"I'm not positive," he said, "but I really think we might have thrown more balls than strikes."
But the Twins were 3-2 walk-off winners on Tuesday night at Target Field after Josh Willingham's three-run homer into the Athletics bullpen with two outs in the ninth.
It was the Twins' first hit of the game with runners in scoring position. That's why they looked out of it for so long.
The announced crowd of 31,781 -- at least those still around for the entire 3 hour, 25 minute game -- rejoiced. Reliever Glen Perkins (1-1) got the win.
"That's why, as they say, you play nine innings," Gardenhire said after his team posted its first walk-off win of the season.
The Twins have won back-to-back games for only the second time this month and have a chance to sweep Oakland on Wednesday afternoon.
The Twins entered the ninth down 2-0 and 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. But Jamey Carroll led off with a single off closer Brian Fuentes and Denard Span followed with a walk.
Revere tried to bunt a high an inside pitch and popped it back to Fuentes for the first out of the inning. Joe Mauer grounded into a force play at second. There were two on and two out.
That brought Willingham -- who hadn't homered since May 8 -- to the plate against his former team. He had to be looking to blast one.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I go up there to have a good at-bat and hit the ball hard somewhere. I've tried to hit home runs before, and it hasn't worked out very well. I was trying to keep it simple, get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."
Fuentes, who pitched for the Twins in 2010, laid a 1-0 fastball over too much of the plate. And "The Hammer'' hammered it.
"We got some guys on at the end -- we screwed up another bunt -- and Willy comes through with a big one," Gardenhire said. "He puts it in the seats, and we get a win.
"Don't ask me how. I really can't tell you."
De Vries, the Eden Prairie native and former Gopher, needed GPS with the baseballs he threw. In five innings, he gave up two hits but walked five and hit a batter. Parker shut out the Twins for six innings before handing off to the bullpen. The A's got an RBI single by Collin Cowgill in the seventh and another by Coco Crisp in the eighth to take a 2-0 lead.
But the Twins got two on in the ninth for Willingham.
"That's where you want to be,'' he said. "You want to be in those situations, whether you get a hit or not. And fortunately I was able to get a hit tonight. I've been on the other end, several times as well."