KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A small round ball and a ragged piece of wood both went flying toward Mark Teahen.
Was the rookie third baseman distracted? He refused to say. But he did mishandle Torii Hunter's broken-bat grounder with two out in the 12th as Nick Punto scored the go-ahead run Sunday in Minnesota's 3-2 victory over Kansas City.
"Yeah, the ball and bat were coming my way," Teahen finally said upon persistent questioning. "Both of them were right in front of me, so I guess I could see both of them. I can make a million excuses about it, whatever. It doesn't matter. It doesn't change it."
The Twins overcame two solo home runs by Mike Sweeney, who heads into the All-Star game on an 11-for-15 tear.
Hunter, surprised the official scorer gave Teahen an error, thought the bat might have distracted him.
"I think he thought the bat was coming," he said.
Hunter hit a sinker inside from Mike Wood (3-3).
"I just wanted to make contact and see what happened," he said. "You make contact and anything can happen."
Sweeney homered off Carlos Rincon in the fourth and then, in a battle between All-Stars in the ninth, hit a second homer off Joe Nathan to tie it 2-all.
The homer broke a string of 12 consecutive saves for Nathan, who started the ninth and had converted 26 of 28 save opportunities.
"We were battling. It was two bulls locking horns," Sweeney said. "I knew he wasn't going to walk me. I'm just happy I got a chance to keep us in the game."
Sweeney also had a single and was 3-for-5 after going 5-for-6 the night before. Since April 30, he's hitting .337.
"It was a heartbreaking loss," he said. "The tough part is going away on the losing side."
Punto singled off Mike Wood (3-3) and went to third when Joe Mauer singled off the glove of first baseman Matt Stairs. As Hunter's bat came at Teahen, Punto scored.
J.C. Romero (2-2) pitched a perfect 11th inning for the victory, and Jesse Crain got the final three outs for his first save in four opportunities.
"We kept battling, they kept battling, but finally we got a little break," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They missed a play and they didn't do too many of that this series."
After David DeJesus singled leading off the first for Kansas City and was erased on a double play, Carlos Silva didn't allow a baserunner until Sweeney hit the first pitch he saw with two outs in the fourth for his 10th home run.
Silva pitched seven strong innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. Typically for the right-hander, he didn't walk a batter. In 114 2/3 innings this year, he has passed only five.
Luis Rodriguez had an RBI double off D.J. Carrasco after Jacque Jones and Justin Morneau singled in the second, then Luis Rivas had an RBI single.
Carrasco gave up 10 hits but just two runs in seven innings, striking out three and not allowing a walk.
Mauer singled off Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh inning, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Morneau was 3-for-5 with three singles.
Angel Berroa doubled leading off the eighth against Juan Rincon, and Terrence Long walked with one out. But DeJesus hit a sharp liner to second baseman Rivas, who threw to second to double off Berroa. Each team had three double plays. In an eight-game hitting streak, Berroa is batting .548.
It was ironic that the Twins would win with the help of an error by Teahen, who had played sparkling defense throughout a 10-game homestand.
"He's a very good defensive third baseman, I do know that," Gardenhire said. "It's too bad he ends up missing one play and it ends up costing them the game."