Rookies lead Mariners past Twins
SEATTLE – Nick Franklin and Brad Miller, two infielders who were toiling in Seattle’s minor league system a couple of months ago, are having a major impact on the big league club.
Franklin homered twice, including a three-run shot, and Miller had two hits and scored two runs in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
“They spark us up the middle defensively,” Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said. “They spark us at the top of the order. It’s not often you see a couple guys come up from Triple-A and hit 1-2 in the order in a short period of time. They’ve done a great job for us.”
Chris Colabello hit a two-run homer for the Twins, but Endy Chavez robbed him of a second one to keep Seattle close in the early innings.
Franklin and Michael Saunders both went deep during a pivotal four-run fourth. With the Mariners down 2-1, Saunders tied it with his seventh homer to open the inning, deep into the second deck in right field.
After Henry Blanco reached on a fielder’s choice and Miller walked, Franklin connected on a 1-1 pitch from Kyle Gibson (2-3) to put the M’s ahead 5-2.
“Coming back from three Ks (on Saturday), honestly I was just trying to get the team going,” Franklin said. “I just tried to make contact and not try to do anything too special.”
Franklin added his 10th homer to right field with one out in the seventh. The second baseman’s 10 home runs and 32 RBIs are tops among A.L. rookies.
“We have a lot in common,” said Miller, a shortstop. “We both want to bring a lot of energy. The biggest thing is we’re in this together. We’re learning.”
Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits to pick up the win. He struck out six and walked two.
Ramirez, who missed most of the year with right triceps tendinitis, won his second straight game since being recalled from the minors July 11.
Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his 24th save in 29 opportunities.
Four of the Twins’ seven hits off Ramirez were for extra bases.
Ryan Doumit opened the Minnesota second with a double to deep right that had to be verified by replay. Chavez reached over the wall to deflect the ball back onto the field. It caromed off the top of the fence, along the yellow line, and bounced onto the warning track.
It didn’t matter much because Doumit scored on the next pitch when Colabello homered.
One inning later, Chavez faced nearly the exact same situation. With Brian Dozier on second and two outs, Colabello drove one high to right. Chavez took a leap at the wall, reached over and this time brought the ball back in his glove.
During the seventh-inning stretch, a fan in the third deck let loose dozens of dollar bills into the air to advertise an event. The bills fluttered above the crowd and the field, delaying the game momentarily while they settled.
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