MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Derrek Lee helped put the Florida Marlins ahead with a pair of 400-foot homers to center field. Then the first baseman preserved the lead with the play of the game Sunday in a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning when Luis Rivas led off with a single, Jacque Jones doubled and Doug Mientkiewicz drew a walk from Julian Tavarez that loaded the bases with one out.
Corey Koskie followed with a sharp line drive that appeared headed down the right-field line for extra bases, but Lee made a diving catch. Tavarez struck out Torii Hunter to end the inning.
"I just got a good jump on the ball," Lee said. "When I dove, I didn't think I was going to get it. It just caught in the tip of my glove. It seems like when your pitcher is throwing well and getting strikes, you get better defense."
Tavarez and Marlins manager Jeff Torborg sure appreciated the catch.
"How about that catch?" Torborg said. "That was one of the best plays I've ever seen a first baseman make."
Said Tavarez: "That's the whole game right there. That ball was crushed. That was a big-time play. If the ball goes by him, everyone scores."
The AL Central-leading Twins stranded 10 runners in the first seven innings.
"Lee's catch was just another example of us not getting the breaks today," said Minnesota's A.J. Pierzynski. "It just proves that in this game an inch or two can make a big difference."
Mike Lowell drove in three runs and Andy Fox had three hits as the Marlins averted a three-game sweep at the Metrodome.
"This was a big win for us here to turn the momentum," Torborg said. "Especially against this club. They're really a good team. I think you're going to see some postseason games here. They're really that good."
Lee's first homer made it 1-all in the second inning. His 12th homer gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
Tavarez (4-3) pitched into the seventh inning and allowed two runs and seven hits.
Tavarez is 3-0 with a 4.12 ERA over his last four starts. In that span, he's lowered his season ERA from 11.80 to 7.52.
Vladimir Nunez pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
Rick Reed (6-3) allowed six runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Tavarez came out in the seventh with runners on first and third with no outs. Reliever Armando Almanza walked the bases loaded, but allowed only Koskie's sacrifice fly.
Pierzynski hit a solo homer in the eighth that pulled the Twins to 6-3.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out walk to Mientkiewicz and Koskie's RBI triple.
Notes: It was Lee's first multihomer game of the season and fourth of his career. ... Fifteen of the 40 runs allowed by Tavarez this season have come in the first inning. ... Reed had faced 119 consecutive batters without issuing a walk, dating back to May 6 and covering seven games, before Cliff Floyd walked on a 3-2 pitch in the third. ... Pierzynski's homer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. ... Minnesota's J.C Romero made his major-league leading 35th relief appearance in the ninth inning. ... The Twins placed pitcher Jack Cressend on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained rotator cuff. He was 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in 23 appearances. Catcher Matthew LeCroy was called up from AAA Edmonton to take his roster spot.
Twins 5, Marlins 3
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter each drove in two runs Saturday night to help the Twins beat the Marlins 5-3.
Jones, Hunter, Dustan Mohr and Luis Rivas had two hits apiece for the Twins, who won their third straight and are a major league-best 23-10 at home.
All but one of Minnesota's runs scored on doubles, and the Twins lead the majors with 142 two-base hits.
Cliff Floyd and Mike Lowell hit back-to-back homers for the Marlins, who began the weekend with the best interleague record, 51-33, over the past five years but have dropped their first two against the Twins.
Matt Kinney (2-5) finally got a victory, his first in eight starts since he beat Cleveland in his season debut on April 20. He tied a season-high with six strikeouts, walking two, and yielding six hits and three runs in five innings.
Luis Castillo extended his franchise-record hitting streak to 25 games with a perfectly placed bunt down the first-base line to begin the game.
Castillo scored on a double by Floyd, who came into the game with only five hits in 31 at-bats but went 2-for-3.
Floyd and Lowell, batting third and fourth, were walked consecutively by Kinney to start the sixth, but Tony Fiore came on to get three outs and preserve a one-run lead.
Eddie Guardado worked the ninth for his 18th save in 20 opportunities.
Marlins starter Kevin Olsen (0-4) gave up seven hits and four runs in 4 1-3 innings -- walking three and striking out four.
Minnesota's patience at the plate paid off against Olsen, who has walked 25 in 46 1-3 innings this year. Corey Koskie led off the second with a walk and scored on a two-out double by Mohr to even the game at 1.
Olsen walked his second batter of the third inning -- Doug Mientkiewicz -- to load the bases before Hunter smashed a ball to the gap that bounced over the wall for a two-run, ground-rule double that gave the Twins a 3-1 lead.
The Twins followed Florida's homers in the fourth by going ahead in the bottom of the inning when Mohr hit his second double of the game and scored on a single by Jones. Rivas doubled and scored on a ground-rule double by Jones in the sixth against reliever Michael Tejera.
Notes: Ramon Castro was activated from the 15-day DL Saturday, giving the Marlins three catchers. ... Kevin Millar's 18-game hitting streak ended when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... Castillo's is the longest active hitting streak in the majors and also the longest all season. ... Florida's Preston Wilson is hitless in his last 18 at-bats. ... The Twins are 30-2 when leading after seven innings. ... On an unsuccessful chase of a foul ball in the sixth inning, Mohr made a head-first dive into the Marlins' bullpen area and came to a stop under the bench amid a scattering of sunflower seeds, tobacco spit and gum wrappers.
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