Updated: 08/06/2014 4:34 PM KSTP.com
San Diego Padres' Seth Smith is welcomed in the dugout after his decisive solo home run off Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak in the 10th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, in Minneapolis. The Padres won 5-4.
Photo: Photo: AP/ Jim Mone
Center fielder Alexi Amarista made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth inning and Seth Smith followed with a solo homer in the 10th to lift the San Diego Padres to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
Amarista ran backward on a dead sprint and laid out for a brilliant diving catch of a drive off the bat of Eduardo Escobar with two on and two outs to keep the game tied.
Smith had two hits and two RBIs. Joaquin Benoit picked up his fourth save in five tries and the Padres earned a split in the two-game series.
Trevor Plouffe had a homer and three RBIs for the Twins. But All-Star closer Glen Perkins blew his fourth save in 32 chances this year.
San Diego trailed 4-3 going into the ninth against Perkins. Everth Cabrera tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Yonder Alonso added two doubles and a single for San Diego.
The Padres earlier in the day hired Texas Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller as the team's new general manager, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made.
The speedy Amarista was a late-game defensive replacement, and what a move it was for manager Bud Black. He raced a good 30 yards or more to track down Escobar's hit and the Padres bench erupted when he hauled it in.
Smith responded with a drive more than 400 feet off Anthony Swarzak (2-1) into the right-field stands for his 12th homer.
Benoit was able to strand the potential tying run at second base in the 10th.
Kevin Quackenbush (2-2) got the win after starter Odrisamer Despaigne gave up four runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings for the Padres.
Kevin Correia gave up three runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.
Escobar had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Plouffe's eighth homer of the year.
Padres: Black said before the game his team has no injury issues at the moment, but Yangervis Solarte came up hobbling in the sixth inning after sliding home to tie the game at 3. Solarte appeared to actually roll over a bat laying in his way as he made the slide, and he was in noticeable pain in his left leg as he limped to the dugout. But he was able to finish the game at third base.
Twins: Manager Ron Gardenhire said first baseman Joe Mauer and right-hander Ricky Nolasco both had successful debuts on their rehab stints with Class A Cedar Rapids on Tuesday night. Mauer (strained right oblique) was scheduled to play first base on Wednesday. If all goes well, Mauer will join the team in Houston next week.
Gardenhire said Nolasco (elbow) "felt great" after throwing 51 pitches. He will make at least one more start before being activated.
Padres: San Diego is off on Thursday before opening a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday night. RHP Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.59) will start the opener against Pirates RHP Vance Worley (4-1, 2.43).
Twins: Minnesota starts a four-game series in Oakland on Thursday night. RHP Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.57) pitches for the Twins against newly acquired A's LHP Jon Lester (11-7, 2.59).
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this story.
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