Three first-inning runs, courtesy of back-to-back doubles by Jesus Montero and Kyle Seager, send Seattle to victory in series rubber match.
Two swings was all it took for the Mariners to bury their hapless opponents beyond salvation.
The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday’s series rubber match with the dubious distinction of having just nine hits in their previous four games — the lowest total over such a span in baseball’s modern era dating back to 1900. So this 5-2 win by the Mariners was pretty academic once they erupted for three first-inning runs courtesy of back-to-back doubles by Jesus Montero and Kyle Seager.
Minnesota once again struggled to muster a pulse offensively, managing just four hits through seven innings against inconsistent Mariners starter Hector Noesi. Seattle had a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning, with a second-inning solo home run by Mike Carp and a Brendan Ryan sacrifice fly two frames later following the early outburst.
The crowd of 23,913 at Safeco Field saw the Mariners register their first series win at home since defeating the Oakland Athletics April 13-15. Noesi had very little trouble all day until Ryan Doumit opened the seventh inning with a solo homer to right.
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It was the first home run by the Twins after a drought that lasted 259 plate appearances. Doumit added another solo blast in the ninth, this one off Tom Wilhelmsen. But it was much too late for the visitors, who had entered the day having lost 10 of 12 with a league-worst 90 runs scored.
Up until the first Doumit home run, the Twins had scored in only one of their previous 42 innings.
But this game was long settled by the time Doumit went deep. The Mariners took advantage of an erratic-looking Nick Blackburn in the first inning, getting the first two batters on with a walk and a single.
Both runners moved up 90 feet when first baseman Chris Parmelee bobbled a potential double-play grounder by Ichiro and had to settle for only one out at first base. Montero made the Twins pay for that mistake when he ripped a double past slow-reacting third baseman Nick Valencia and down the left-field line.
That brought both runners home, and Seager soon made it a 3-0 game with a double to right field.
Blackburn got the final two outs of the inning, but Carp opened the second with his first home run of the year into the right-field seats.
Noesi would cruise from there to his second victory of the season, notching five strikeouts while walking three. The Twins couldn’t muster a hit the final two innings and now have just 13 in their last five games.