Cirillo's bases-loaded single lifts Twins over Jays in 12th

Turning point: Michael Cuddyer led off the 12th with a single and advanced to third on a single by Lew Ford, who took second on defensive indifference.

Hero: Cirillo snapped an 0-for-8 skid with the Twins' seventh walk-off hit of the season.

Unsung hero: Scott Baker struck out a career-high nine and allowed just one run and four hits in seven-plus innings.

Quotable: "I almost feel a little guilty because the ball fell. It was a flukey hit, but you know, I'll take it." -- Cirillo

-- ESPN.com news services

Twins 2, Blue Jays 1

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- In a game as well pitched as this one, even Jeff Cirillo thought it was a bit of a shame to win it the way he did.

Gimpy knees and all, Cirillo limped off the bench and blooped a bases-loaded single in the 12th inning to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

"I almost feel a little guilty because the ball fell," Cirillo said. "It was a flukey hit, but you know, I'll take it."

With the count 1-2, Cirillo hit a flare to shallow center field off lefty Brian Tallet (2-2). Vernon Wells and shortstop John McDonald both dived for the ball, but it landed just in front of Wells and allowed Michael Cuddyer to score.

Cirillo snapped an 0-for-8 skid with Minnesota's seventh walk-off hit of the season, and the Twins poured out of the dugout to mob him at first base.

"It's weird, you're celebrating a hit, but it's a bloop hit," Cirillo said. "It's like, whatever, OK, let's jump up and down and go home."

Jason Kubel had the other RBI for the Twins, who had to scratch and claw for this win with reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau on the bench for the fourth straight game with a bruised right lung.

But the pitchers for both sides were the stars of this game.

"Everybody was pitching well tonight and it was a matter of who was going to flinch first," Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun said. "We're talking a matter of inches from missing Vernon's glove."

Juan Rincon (3-1) pitched a perfect 12th to support starter Scott Baker, who struck out a career-high nine and allowed just one run and four hits in seven-plus innings.

Toronto starter Shaun Marcum was just as good, allowing one run and six hits in eight-plus innings.

He moved into the rotation early in May when Victor Zambrano went on the disabled list with a strained forearm. Marcum has been rock solid since, going 3-1 in nine starts and has allowed more than two earned runs in only two of those outings.

"He's a little bulldog," Zaun said. "He goes out there and pounds the strike zone and mixes his pitches very well. He's not afraid of anybody's lineup and just pours it in there every night and takes his chances."

But after hitting three home runs and scoring eight runs for Roy Halladay in a victory over the Twins on Monday night, the Jays couldn't get much going and lost for the first time in five games.

After Baker and Marcum put zeros on the board through the first 6 1/2 innings, the Twins finally picked up a run in the bottom of the seventh.

Marcum walked Cuddyer with one out, then gave up a single to Torii Hunter and another to Kubel that made the score 1-0.

But the damage could have been worse were it not for an outstanding play by Alex Rios in right field. With Hunter on third and one out, Redmond lifted a fly ball to shallow right. Rios caught it and made a strong throw home to Zaun, who just barely tagged out Hunter before he crossed the plate to end the inning.

Hunter thought Zaun missed the tag and argued with home plate umpire Mike Winters. Manager Ron Gardenhire came to Hunter's aid and was eventually ejected.

"I just wanted to get the focus off Torii," Gardenhire said. "[Winters] made the right call."

Baker came out for the eighth, but walked Zaun and gave up a single to Aaron Hill before being pulled. After Adam Lind's bunt moved the runners up, pinch-hitter Howie Clark tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.

But that was all the Jays could muster offensively. The first four hitters in Toronto's lineup -- Wells, Rios, Matt Stairs and Troy Glaus -- combined to go 2-for-20 with eight strikeouts.

Blue Jays slugger Frank Thomas came up empty again in pursuit of career homer No. 500, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"Bake just did a fantastic job," Gardenhire said. "That was two good pitching staffs going after each other."

Game notes
The Blue Jays struck out a season-high with 15 times in the game. ... Baker's previous career high for strikeouts was eight on May 20, 2006 at Milwaukee. ... Cuddyer moved from RF to 1B in place of Morneau. ... After finishing a triple shy of the cycle on Monday night, Rios was 0-for-5 on Tuesday.