Mickey Hatcher's two-out single off Oriole reliever Storm Davis drove in Kent Hrbek with the winning run in the 10th inning tonight to give the Minnesota Twins a 6-5 victory over the Orioles at the Metrodome.
The Twins trailed, 5-4, going to their half of the 10th, but rookies Tom Brunansky and Kent Hrbek opened the inning with back-to-back doubles off reliever Tim Stoddard (2-4) to tie the game.
Gary Ward singled Hrbek to third before Davis came in to relieve. Davis got Gary Gaetti to pop up and struck out Sal Butera before giving up the deciding single.
"The stage was set for Sal," Hatcher said. "I was really hoping he would do it. He was playing with a (fractured vertebrae) injury and it just seemed right that he would get the game-winner. I really didn't expect to get up."
The Twins trailed, 4-2, going into the ninth, but forced the game into extra innings when pinch hitter Dave Engle crushed a two-run double down the left field line off reliever Tippy Martinez with two outs.
Gaetti and Tim Laudner opened the inning with singles against Sammy Stewart and, after two fly-ball outs, Orioles Manager Earl Weaver brought the left-handed Martinez in to face left-handed pinch hitter Randy Johnson.
Minnesota Manager Billy Gardner countered by inserting Engle, a .229 hitter, for Johnson. Engle responded with a double past third baseman Rich Dauer on Martinez's 1-2 pitch, driving in Gaetti and pinch runner Jesus Vega.
"Anybody in our lineup can be our spark. Engle really sparked us with his double. The guy (third baseman Rich Dauer) should have been playing closer to the line, but things like that happen when you're out of position," Hatcher said.
"Batting average of .229 and 14 RBIs," lamented Weaver about Engle's statistics going into the game. "What could be better? We had them, 4-2, in the seventh and all we needed was to get them out for three innings. But it wasn't just one out away for Tippy. We were one pitch away from being in here and saying we are on our way back."
John Lowenstein, pinch-hitting for hot-hitting Gary Roenicke, gave the Orioles their 5-4 lead in the 10th with a solo home run, his 19th. Lowenstein's blast was the Orioles' 10th pinch-hit home run of the year, tying an American League record.
The Orioles went on to load the bases in the 10th, but Minnesota winner Ron Davis got Lenn Sakata to pop out and end the inning.
"We had three chances to win this game," Weaver said. "Stewart had to get three outs, Tippy needed one and Stoddard needed three. We didn't get any of them."
The loss dropped the Orioles to 7 1/2 games behind East Division-leading Milwaukee.