Two days earlier, Seattle manager Lou Piniella dropped Jay Buhner from his customary cleanup spot to sixth in the Mariners batting order.
Buhner responded with another good game, hitting two homers and driving in five runs Saturday night as the Mariners beat the Twins 10-6.
“If it’s going to help the team, then I want to stay just where I’m at,” said Buhner, who also homered Friday night. “I don’t think they’re going to pitch me any different, but if I get the chance for more RBIs, then I love it.”
Minnesota rookie Marty Cordova homered in his fifth straight game, matching Harmon Killebrew’s team mark set twice in 1970. Cordova connected for his eighth homer, most among major-league rookies, in the fifth inning off Tim Belcher (1-0).
“I’m a pretty modest guy and I try to keep a low profile,” said Cordova, hitting .307 with a team-leading 22 RBIs. “I don’t worry about national publicity.”
“He’s a strong kid,” Piniella said. “Five home runs in five games. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, it’s very impressive.”
Buhner homered in his first two at-bats against Scott Erickson (1-4), and also doubled in two runs in the eighth. Buhner also homered in his last at-bat Friday night.
Piniella said the lineup switch was done to take the pressure off Buhner and help him relax.
“I’ve had two pretty good games games in a row, so maybe it has helped,” said Buhner, 5-for-9 with six RBIs in the past two games.
Belcher, acquired in a minor-league trade with Cincinnati on Monday, allowed six hits and three runs in five innings. He walked five and struck out one in his first start of the year after being promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday.
Tino Martinez, who had three singles and two RBIs, put Seattle ahead for good in the sixth with a single that scored Ken Griffey Jr. Edgar Martinez, who also had three hits, scored on the same play to make it 5-3 when Tino Martinez was caught in a rundown.
Minnesota took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on a run-scoring double by Kevin Maas. Seattle tied it in the second on Buhner’s 447-foot homer to center field.
Matt Walbeck put the Twins ahead 2-1 in the second with an RBI grounder to score Scott Leius, who had tripled.
Buhner homered again in the fourth. He has four home runs this season, all in the last nine games.
Cordova had an RBI grounder during a three-run ninth.
The Mariners acquired pitchers Salomon Torres and Steve Frey from the San Francisco Giants for two minor leaguers in two separate trades. The Mariners got Torres for pitcher Shawn Estes and infielder Wilson Delgado. In the other deal, they got Frey for future considerations. To make room for Frey, the Mariners designated pitcher Lee Guetterman for assignment. He was 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA in nine games. Earlier Saturday, the Mariners also designated left-hander John Cummings for assignment. … Seattle catcher Dan Wilson has caught 4 of 8 runners attempting to steal this year, nabbing Alex Cole in the first inning. … Griffey reached over the fence to rob a home run from Pat Meares late in the game.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.