SEATTLE - Mike Carp played one regular season game, made one awkward landing on a dive and found himself on the disabled list.
Considering this first week of May has essentially served as an extended spring training for Carp, his bat seems to be coming along just fine.
Carp hit his first home run of the season, rookie slugger Jesus Montero hit a two-run double and the Mariners cruised to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday — Seattle’s second win in a row following a seven-game losing streak.
“I’ve felt pretty good. You miss so much time and guys are 100 at-bats into it and pitchers have been throwing, they’ve been working on stuff,” Carp said. “I come in each day and work with (hitting coach Chris) Chambliss and get that timing down and I feel pretty comfortable. Hopefully (I’ll) start taking off here pretty soon.”
Montero doubled in the first and Carp went deep in the second, giving Seattle starter Hector Noesi all the offense he would need against Minnesota’s hapless offense. Noesi took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up a solo home run to Ryan Doumit. Despite the homer, Noesi (2-3) allowed just four hits and struck out five.
“He just continued on doing what we’ve seen the last couple of starts,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “He was doing a good job of commanding his fastball and reaching out front and really finishing off his pitches and then using all of his secondary stuff.”
Left-handed batters came in hitting .407 against Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn this year, and a Mariners lineup full of lefties did its part. But it was Montero, a right-hander and the centerpiece of Seattle’s big offseason trade with the Yankees, who got it going early. His two-run double just inside the bag at third in the first was followed by Kyle Seager’s long line-drive single off the wall in right that scored Montero.
Carp then opened the second with a solo shot deep into the seats in right field. It was just his third hit since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week after he missed nearly a month with a shoulder sprain suffered during the season-opening series in Japan. Seattle went ahead 5-0 in the fourth when Dustin Ackley lined a triple into the left-center field gap, then scored on Brendan Ryan’s sacrifice foul out down the right-field line.
“It feels like a beginning of the season but the last four days I’ve felt pretty comfortable,” Carp said. “I’m trying to get that timing back and just go from there.”
While Montero was the focus of the trade with the Yankees, Noesi was a piece the Mariners were equally excited about. His potential was on display in early April when Noesi threw eight shutout innings against Oakland. But in his three starts since, Noesi was 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA.
Facing the Twins’ meek offense certainly helped. Noesi gave up singles in the first, third and fourth innings and didn’t allow a baserunner past second until Doumit’s homer of the season in the seventh. Doumit made it his fifth career multi-homer game when he lined a solo shot in the ninth off Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen.
Doumit, who grew up in Moses Lake, Wash., about three hours east of Seattle, was all the offense for Minnesota, which took its place in baseball history this week. Before Sunday’s game, the nine hits in the previous four games by Minnesota — including a no-hitter by the Angels’ Jered Weaver and a combined one-hitter courtesy mostly of Felix Hernandez on Saturday night — were the fewest hits in a four-game span since 1900, according to statistics provided by the Twins from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Minnesota had been shut out in three of its previous four games for the first time since 1996 and was on the verge of yet another shutout until Doumit’s homer leading off the seventh inning.
“At this point everybody is trying a little too hard and that comes with losing,” Doumit said.