Escobar's would-be game-winner turns into long out


Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar

Photo: David Zalubowski, ASSOCIATED PRESS file

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For a few seconds in the ninth inning Wednesday, it looked as if the Twins were going to beat the San Diego Padres despite being awful on offense for most of the afternoon.

With the scored tied 4-4 and Twins runners on first and second with two outs, Eduardo Escobar put a nice swing on a Kevin Quackenbush pitch and drove it to center. Fans in Target Field started screaming.

“I was climbing over the rail to be honest with you,’’ Brian Dozier said.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire noted that with two strikes, San Diego had its outfielders play more shallow. It looked as if Escobar was going to burn the outfield, two runs were going to score, and the Twins were going to win.

Then Alexi Amarista turned into Keenan Allen hauling in a Phillip Rivers bomb.

Amarista, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh, turned to his left and raced back to deep center. The ball hung up just enough for him to run it down. Fans groaned. Escobar jumped and threw his helmet to the ground.

“When he hit it, I thought, ‘Game over,’ ’’ Gardenhire said. “We thought he had no chance to catch that ball, but he made a heck of a play.’’

Replay problems

San Diego wanted umpires to look at replays of Dozier’s stolen base in the first inning. And replays suggested that Dozier was out.

But there was a technical problem with the replay system, and it was unavailable at the time. Umpires were unable to take another look at the play.

After the Padres batted in the second, crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt put on the headphones and spoke with replay officials for a few minutes, delaying the start of the bottom of the inning as they continued to work through technical problems.

Nolasco getting closer

Righthander Ricky Nolasco, who pitched 3 ⅔ scoreless innings at Class A Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, will make a second rehab start Sunday and could rejoin the Twins after that.

Nolasco, on the disabled list because of a flexor pronator strain, threw 51 pitches during his outing Tuesday. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Nolasco will throw, ‘‘seventy-something,’’ pitches Sunday.

If the Sunday outing goes well, Nolasco could start Aug. 15 against Kansas City.

Twins, Kernels agree

Ryan met with the press before Wednesday’s game wearing a Cedar Rapids Kernels shirt. That was the giveaway.

The Twins announced that they have extended their player development contract with Cedar Rapids for four years. This is the second year the Twins have had a Class A team in Cedar Rapids. The Kernels are getting big crowds this week with Joe Mauer there on a rehab stint.

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