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MIN@SEA: Colabello's first career homer puts Twins up

SEATTLE -- After the Twins spoiled Felix Hernandez's chance at a shutout in the ninth, Chris Colabello's two-run homer in the 13th inning gave them a much-needed 3-2 victory on Friday night.

For the third straight game, an All-Star caliber pitcher held down the Twins' offense, but against the 2010 Cy Young Award winner, the bats finally broke through, albeit in the last possible frame. Pedro Florimon led off the ninth with a single, and was advanced by Brian Dozier's sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe tied the game at one with a single to plate Florimon, his first career hit as a pinch-hitter. Hernandez recovered to whiff the final two batters.

It was a cathartic hit for Plouffe, who was originally scheduled to take a "mental health" day due to his recent struggles at the plate. Entering Friday's game, Plouffe was hitting just .192 in July.

"At that point I'm just battling, trying to do anything I can to put the ball in play," Plouffe said. "Luckily, I got one and I got it out there. It's been a little rough for me, but you've got to keep grinding."

Plouffe's hit ended Hernandez's scoreless-inning streak at 24 as well as the Twins' scoreless streak against the righty at 32 1/3 innings. Hernandez was dominant for almost the entire game, striking out 11 and overshadowing a great start from Minnesota's Scott Diamond.

"Mr. Hernandez was as-advertised, really tough to find a way to squeak out a run against him," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's unbelievable, he's just so dominant. You know what, our boys kept battling and we finally got in a situation and got a man out there and got a big hit to tie it up and it kind of went from there."

Diamond went toe-to-toe with the ace for 6 2/3 innings, allowing just the one run while scattering five hits. It was a bounce-back start for Diamond, who gave up five runs in just 4 2/3 innings against the Indians last Sunday.

"I have to pay a lot of homage to Drew [Butera] back there, he just kept me attacking and we really stayed aggressive," Diamond said. "I don't know what the numbers are, but it felt like we threw 80 percent fastballs tonight. We really just continued to attack the zone and kept them on their heels. It really paid off."

In the 13th inning, Seattle cracked first. Aaron Hicks singled aboard, making Colabello's first Major League home run a two-run homer. It was also his first Major League extra-base hit. Colabello -- who entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter -- began the day with a .135 batting average.

"I was looking down at third base trying to get the signs, I thought we were going to maybe bunt, we'd talked about it in the dugout," Colabello said. "That's why I stood there for a second and looked down twice, but I was just trying to put a good swing on a ball and thankfully it worked out the way it did."

The Mariners closed the gap on Kendrys Morales' solo home run off Glen Perkins in the bottom of the inning. Perkins allowed a single to Kyle Seager after the homer, but Justin Smoak grounded into a double play. Dustin Ackley then grounded out to end the game. With the win, the Twins improved to 5-3 following the All-Star Break.

Diamond ran into a spot of trouble in the fourth, needing 27 pitches to get out of the inning. Nick Franklin led the inning off with a double, and after Diamond walked Morales the Mariners had runners on the corners with only one out. Diamond recovered, striking out Seager and forcing Smoak to ground out to escape the inning untouched.

The Twins weren't able to overcome a similar situation in the fifth. After Ackley singled aboard, shortstop Brendan Ryan ground into what might have been a double play, but the ball bounced out of second baseman Dozier's glove. Ackley, however, was ruled out. A single by catcher Henry Blanco moved Ryan to third, and with two outs, Franklin singled him home to put Seattle up, 1-0.

"It was just one of those nights. It's baseball," Franklin said. "Things don't always come out right, but we still grinded and played good defense. It just didn't end up on a good note."

In the eighth inning, Minnesota had a shot to tie the game when Thomas led off the inning with a single. But Hernandez struck out Hicks and Colabello hit into a double play to end the threat. Luckily for Colabello, he and his teammates would have the last laugh.

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