MINNEAPOLIS -- As Twins manager Paul Molitor has often said, Eddie Rosario lives for big moments. Rosario came up huge for Minnesota, crushing a walk-off, two-run homer to right in the 10th inning to lift the Twins to a 3-1 win over the Padres on Wednesday night at Target Field. It helped the Twins maintain their two-game lead for the second AL Wild Card spot over the Angels, who beat the Astros.
It was the fourth walk-off win of the year for the Twins. Joe Mauer sparked the rally with a one-out single off reliever Phil Maton. Rosario came up with two outs and smacked a 2-0 fastball high into the sky that stayed just fair, with Rosario nearly swinging out of his shoes and celebrating as he made it to first base. It left the bat at 106.5 mph at a launch angle of 35 degrees and went a projected 415 feet, per Statcast™. It was the hardest hit homer by Rosario since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.
"I was waiting for that pitch," said Rosario, who had never hit a walk-off homer at any level. "In the last at-bat, I got a lot of fastballs inside. So I was little surprised he pitched inside, but I was waiting on the pitch and I made good contact. It was awesome. It's the moment every player wants."
Padres rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet was solid, allowing one run on five hits over six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked two. The lone run he allowed came on an errant throw to third from catcher Austin Hedges, as Rosario advanced on a wild pitch after a leadoff double. It was the 10th straight outing in which Lamet surrendered three runs or fewer.
"I thought he was good, and he's been good pretty much every time out over the last couple months," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "Another step in the right direction. More of the same, good slider and good fastball. [He] navigated the lineup well, minimized damage. I thought, overall, he threw the ball well."
Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, who had posted a 5.40 ERA over his last three outings, bounced back with a strong effort, despite not having his best stuff. The right-hander pitched his way out of several jams, scattering three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings.
"We're trying to get these guys not to fall into the trap of, 'We're supposed to win these games,'" Molitor said. "It doesn't work that way. Tonight we had to fight with everything we had to get a win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hedges' throw proves costly: Rosario broke for third on a wild pitch from Lamet in the second inning after a leadoff double and Hedges threw to third to try to get Rosario. But the throw sailed past third baseman Yangervis Solarte and allowed Rosario to trot home to give the Twins an early lead.
"I think Austin grinds as hard as anyone in the cage. He wants to be really good on both sides of the baseball," Green said. "I think he's doing better at the dish. I think in his mind he wants to be better and better."
Belisle escapes jam: Rookie reliever Alan Busenitz exited with two runners on and one out in the ninth, and the Twins turned to closer Matt Belisle to diffuse the situation. Belisle retired Jabari Blash and Hedges to get out of the inning unscathed. He also threw a 1-2-3 10th inning and picked up the win. More >
"It's just like any other situation," Belisle said. "I'm just trying to execute pitches. Nothing really changes. Just look at the signs and trying to simplify things."
"Rosie has been incredible a majority of the season. He got a hitters' count and he swung about as hard as he could and he hit it about as far as he could. It was a great way to end the game and a big win." -- Molitor
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins swept the two-game set with the Padres to notch their 10th sweep of the season. That is the most sweeps by Minnesota in a single season since recording 10 in 2006.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: Following an off-day Thursday, San Diego will travel to Colorado for a three-game weekend set starting on Friday at 5:40 p.m. PT. Left-hander Clayton Richard (7-13, 4.78 ERA) will get the nod in the series opener. Last time out, Richard tossed six shutout frames in a win over St. Louis.
Twins: The Twins host the Blue Jays for a four-game series that begins Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Jose Berrios (12-7, 3.94 ERA) is set to start for the Twins; he limited the Royals to two runs over seven innings last time out.