6/7: Twins Fall to Mariners 6-5 Behind Mike Zunino’s Two-Run Walk-Off Home Run

Brandon Kintzler came into the ninth inning trying to protect a narrow 5-4 lead for the Minnesota Twins. With a runner at first base, he knew he had to be careful with a dangerous hitter like Mike Zunino at the plate. Mike got a fastball down the middle and knew it was out of the ballpark the moment he swung at the pitch.

“I left one pitch up and the guy hits a homer. I didn’t know Zunino could go the other way like that. Sometimes they get you. Most of the time, hopefully I get them.” Kintzler told the Star Tribune.

Zunino also had some positive words for his walk-off home run.

“That’s sort of the swing that the last month I’ve been trying to get to. Obviously, the pitch is going to dictate where you hit it. But, got into a spot with a guy that you know has a good sinker and he likes to stay away and I was just trying to elevate it. I was able to get that pitch and stay inside it and just drive it that way.” Zunino told the Associated Press.

With this walk off, it spoiled another brilliant night for Twins slugger Miguel Sano. With his three-run home run in the fifth inning, it tied him with Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz. Earlier in the four-run fifth inning for the Twins, Ehire Adrianza smashed a double and Brian Dozier walked. Joe Mauer hit a two out single to drive in Adrianza before Sano gave the Twins their first lead at 5-2.

“The game, it can turn. You’ve got to play it out.” Molitor told the Associated Press.

After a slow start to the season, the Mariners have been the best team in baseball winning eight of their last nine games. Twins starter Adalberto Mejia pitched five innings while allowing two runs that were all off solo home runs for the Mariners.

“I thought I did my job and threw strikes. I thought it was easier to find the strike zone just because they like to swing a lot.” Mejia told the Associated Press.

Although this was a very hard way to end the game for the Twins, manager Paul Molitor remained optimistic.

“It was a good game,” Molitor told the Associated Press. “A lot of good things happened. We kind of hung in there a little bit, finally put together a little bit of a rally. It put us ahead and we just couldn’t find a way to add on. They kind of pecked away one at a time until they finally got the big blow at the end.”

The Twins will continue their three-game series on Thursday against the Mariners.

Scott Jordahl

[Pioneer Press, Associated Press, Star Tribune]

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