Washburn out-duels Perkins in Mariners’ win

MINNEAPOLIS — Jarrod Washburn gave up five hits in eight innings and Brandon Morrow got his first save of the season to lead the Seattle Mariners over the Minnesota Twins 2-0 Thursday.

Washburn (1-0) struck out four with just one walk to get his first victory since July 27. Adrian Beltre and Rob Johnson had RBI singles for the Mariners split the four-game set.

After Morrow gave up three runs in the ninth on Tuesday night in a 6-5 loss, new manager Don Wakamatsu sent the 24-year-old right back out there again.

Morrow walked Michael Cuddyer on four pitches, struck out Justin Morneau and Joe Crede looking, then got pinch-hitter Jason Kubel on a flyout to close it out.

Glen Perkins (0-1) gave up just run and five hits in eight innings and struck out four, but that wasn’t quite good enough against Washburn, who has always faired well here.

He entered 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA in seven starts at the Metrodome, so it would be hard to think of a better place for him to begin this year and quickly put last year behind him.

Washburn went 5-14 with a 4.69 ERA, the highest he’s had in a full season in his career. He started 26 games but had just one appearance in the final month of the season after suffering an abdominal strain.

Seattle’s offense no doubt gave Washburn plenty of stomach problems as well. He received just 4.10 runs of support per game last season, which was the fourth fewest in the AL. Since his final season with the Angels in 2005, Washburn’s 4.29 runs of help are the fewest among all AL starters.

The lefty didn’t need much help on Thursday. He retired the first eight hitters, even shaking off a bouncer from Mike Redmond that hit off his leg.

Sprinkling a slow curve in with his usual assortment of offspeed pitches, Washburn kept a Twins team that had six extra-base hits on Wednesday night completely off balance. Morneau nearly swung out of his shoes while ripping at a 65-mph slurve for strike three to lead off the second inning.

Perkins, who won 12 games last year in his first full season as a starter, wasn’t as sharp as Washburn, but he was nearly as effective.

Seattle hit Perkins hard in the first inning. Endy Chavez lined out, Franklin Gutierrez missed a homer by about three feet and settled for a double and Mike Sweeney lined out to right field. Beltre followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.

After that, the lefty settled down and never really ran into trouble. Only two Mariners reached second base and Perkins retired 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced.

Notes: Redmond returned after missing the previous two with a groin injury. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, but hobbled on the bases. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue with 2B umpire Chuck Meriweather in the first. He thought Gutierrez trapped the ball on his diving catch, but replays showed that it was a clean catch. … Not to be outdone, Wakamatsu argued a close play when Morneau flipped a grounder to Perkins at 1B to get Gutierrez in the third.

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