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Twins score game-winner on error, beat Yankees in extras

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Minnesota Twins left fielder Josh Willingham, right, is congratulated by Trevor Plouffe after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees on Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins needed a little help in order to finally solve the New York Yankees.

An errant throw from Yankees’ catcher Francisco Cervelli allowed the Twins to celebrate snapping a seven-game home losing steak to the Yankees with a 2-1 victory in 11 innings on Saturday at Target Field.

With the bases loaded and one out, Cervelli tried to complete an inning-ending double play by throwing out third baseman Trevor Plouffe at first base, but his throw sailed into right field, allowing Josh Willingham to score from second with the winning run.

Though not your ordinary victory, Willingham — who scored both of the Twins’ runs — said every win is a pretty one.

“Any time you can take advantage of somebody else’s mistake, it’s good,” said Willingham, who also hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.

“That play isn’t typically how you end the game, but it was good enough to get us a win.”

In the 11th, Chris Colabello, pinch hitting for first baseman Chris Parmelee, led off the with a towering double that came inches from going over the right field wall and ending the game.

Colabello advanced to third on a grounder by designated hitter Kendrys Morales. With one out, the Yankees intentionally walked Willingham. Then, right fielder Oswaldo Arcia was hit by a pitch loading the bases, bringing Plouffe up with a chance to win the game.

Plouffe tapped a come-backer to Yankees’ pitcher Matt Thornton, who threw home to force Colabello out, but Cervelli couldn’t complete the double play.

“It was a game that seemed like it was going to go on forever,” said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is playing his final series at Target Field. “Opportunities were few and far between, but they capitalized on a mistake and beat us. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other side.”

Heading into the game, the Twins had not beaten the Yankees at Target Field since Sept. 25, 2012. The Yankees are 13-4 all time at Target Field.

“A win is a win,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the third inning by home plate umpire Marty Foster. “We were desperate. We needed that.”

The Twins were backed by a quality start from Yohan Pino and five scoreless innings of relief in the victory.

Pino gave the Twins their first quality start of the series, going six innings and allowing one run and three hits and striking out three.

It was Pino’s first-ever start against the Yankees. The 30-year-old Venezuelan rookie entered the game 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA in three appearances for the Twins.

“I just tried to concentrate and keep the ball down,” Pino said. “I’ve worked a lot in my bullpens. I concentrated on every pitch, executed and I did it.

“I’m happy because we won today. We needed that. We’ll try to do the same next time.”

Twins relievers Matt Guerrier, Casey Fien, Glen Perkins, Jared Burton and Brian Duensing combined for five shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.

The Twins’ bullpen is on a streak of 14.2 scoreless innings.

“Our kid did really well,” Gardenhire said of Pino. “I got to watch him first-hand on TV. His ball was moving well and he located well. Our bullpen came in and did a really nice job.”

New York got on the board first in the top of the fifth inning, when Cervelli hit a two-out single to left field to bring home right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Suzuki reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second base and took third on a wild pitch.

Willingham tied the score, 1-1, hitting a solo home run 398 feet to the second deck in left field to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning.

Willingham’s blast came on a 1-and-1 pitch from Yankees starting pitcher David Phelps. Willingham, who was 1 for 4 in the game with three strikeouts, was back in the lineup on Saturday after being given the day off in Friday’s loss to the Yankees.

Willingham, plugged into the fifth spot in the order, was 0 for 12 with three strikeouts in his previous four games.

Starting pitcher David Phelps threw seven innings for the Yankees, allowing one earned run, three hits and two walks while striking out three.

Yankees relief pitcher Shawn Kelley threw two innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits and striking out four. Thornton, who took the loss, went 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run and two hits, striking out one.