Willilngham also doubled and scored twice, while Trevor Plouffe drove in the
other run for the Twins, who had dropped five of six coming into the contest.
Rod Barajas drove in the lone run of the game for the Pirates, who had won
their previous three games.
Both starters pitched well, but didn't factor into the decision. Francisco
Liriano went 6 2/3 innings for the Twins and gave up just one run on four hits
with two walks and six strikeouts while Erik Bedard had similar numbers over
six innings with a run on four hits, two walks and seven strikeouts for
'It was a good step forward, but I'm disappointed we didn't win,' said Bedard.
'We tried our best and we'll get them tomorrow.'
Jared Burton (1-1) got the win for pitching 1 1/3 scoreless relief innings
while Jason Grilli (1-2) was tagged with the loss.
The Twins jumped on top in the first inning with a two-out rally. Willingham
kept the inning alive with a double and Justin Morneau walked. Plouffe then
singled home Willingham before Jamey Carroll lined out with the bases loaded.
Pittsburgh stranded men at first and second in the sixth inning, but was able
to get on the board in the seventh.
With one out, Pedro Alvarez was hit by a pitch and Clint Barmes singled. After
Michael McKenry walked to load the bases, Barajas followed with a shot to
center. Denard Span made a beautiful diving grab to prevent a hit, but it
scored Alvarez to tie the game. Burton then took the mound and got Jose Tabata
to ground out.
The game didn't stay tied for very long, though, as Willingham homered with
one out in the eighth to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
'Willingham has been so good for us this year,' said Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire. 'He's the one guy who has really been swinging all year. He can
juice the baseball or he can pull it.'
Burton worked around a one-out single in the eighth, while Glen Perkins got
the final three outs of the ninth after walking Pedro Alvarez for his first
save of the season.
Pittsburgh first baseman Casey McGehee went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting
streak to eight games...Plouffe is 24-for-61 with 17 RBI over 16 games in
June...Pittsburgh had won five straight at home...The Pirates went 0-for-5
with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.