SEATTLE – Carlos Silva had his sinker working for strikes, a solid defense that turned three double plays and one of the most reliable bullpens in baseball.
“Put everything together and we won,” the right-hander said.
Sure enough, it looked that simple. Silva allowed one run in seven innings and Matthew LeCroy hit a three-run homer in the Minnesota Twins’ 4-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.
Silva, in his second full season as a starter, gave up nine hits – including Bret Boone’s solo homer leading off the second. The right-hander, known for his efficiency and excellent control, had no walks or strikeouts.
“I wanted to go with my strengths,” said Silva, a 14-game winner last season. “They were swinging early. That’s why I didn’t throw too many pitches. My sinker was working and I got a lot of groundballs. I had great defense behind me.”
Five times, Seattle batters made contact on the first pitch, and Silva drew contact on his second pitch 12 times. Of his 68 pitches, 49 were strikes and only one hitter reached ball three.
“He established he was going to throw strikes,” Seattle’s Dan Wilson said. “There was no sense in waiting around and getting behind.”
The Twins had a scare in the eighth when first baseman Justin Morneau was hit in the right temple by a pitch from left-handed reliever Ron Villone, although the batting helmet appeared to absorb most of it.
Morneau dropped to the ground and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire rushed out with an athletic trainer. Morneau was on his back for about one minute, his head propped up by a rolled-up towel.
“You can get a pretty good feel when you’re talking to them,” Gardenhire said. “They asked him where he was at, and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m on the ground in Seattle.’ So I thought he might be OK.”
Morneau was helped to his feet and walked off on his own. He was taken for a precautionary CT scan, but there was no immediate word on the result.
“He’s got a pretty good red welt on his head,” Gardenhire said. “I think the helmet got most of it. It made a pretty ugly sound. He didn’t have much of a chance to get out of the way.”
Silva escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, when the Twins turned their third double play, then gave way to Juan Rincon. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his first save as Minnesota won two games in the season-opening series.
“Silva got into one mess, in the seventh, but we felt his ball still was really moving and running,” Gardenhire said. “He got a nice groundball to third and got out of it. Maybe he was a little lucky there, but it was a good performance.”
Seattle also had a player leave with an injury – starter Bobby Madritsch, who went out in the fifth with a strained left shoulder. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowed three runs and four hits, struck out one and walked one.
Madritsch also went for a precautionary CT scan, which confirmed a mild strain of his throwing shoulder.
“He felt it on one pitch,” pitching coach Bryan Price said. “When that happens, it’s not like you can throw through it.”
The lefty looked good early, retiring his first 10 batters.
Then, Nick Punto got Minnesota’s first hit with a one-out bunt single in the fourth, Morneau singled to right and LeCroy drove a 1-0 pitch an estimated 378 feet over the visitor’s bullpen for a 3-1 lead.
“I just happened to get a good pitch,” LeCroy said. “I thought I missed one in my first at-bat, but I got hold of it and it went out.”
The Twins took a 4-1 lead in the eighth after Jacque Jones’ one-out sacrifice with the bases loaded.
Boone, playing on his 36th birthday, put Seattle ahead 1-0 in the second with a solo shot into the left-field bullpen. He also singled in the fourth and seventh.
Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki singled twice in four at-bats, improving to 6 for 12 to open the season. … Minnesota’s bullpen was steady in the series, allowing three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. … Carlos Silva is undefeated in April, logging seven wins and one save in four major league seasons. … Bobby Madritsch, whose mother is Sioux, is the eighth Native American to play in the majors. … The Pac-10 tournament champion Washington men’s basketball team was introduced before the game.
Twins 4, Mariners 1
a-struck out for Valdez in the 8th. 1-ran for Morneau in the 8th. LOB—Minnesota 7, Seattle 5. 2B—Redmond (1), Winn (1). HR—LeCroy (1), off Madritsch; BBoone (1), off CSilva. RBIs—LeCroy 3 (3), JJones (4), BBoone (1). SB—ISuzuki (2). CS—Winn (1). S—JCastro. SF—JJones. GIDP—Punto, Reed, Ibanez, DWilson. Runners left in scoring position—Minnesota 3 (ShStewart, Punto, Cuddyer); Seattle 1 (Beltre). DP—Minnesota 3 (Punto, JCastro and Morneau), (Morneau, JCastro and Morneau), (Cuddyer and Morneau); Seattle 1 (BBoone, Valdez and Sexson).
|CSilva W, 1-0||7||9||1||1||0||0||68||1.29|
|JRincon H, 1||1||1||0||0||0||2||15||0.00|
|Nathan S, 1||1||0||0||0||0||0||12||0.00|
|Madritsch L, 0-1||4 1/3||4||3||3||1||1||64||6.23|
Inherited runners-scored—RFranklin 1-0, Villone 1-1, JeNelson 2-0. HBP—by Villone (Morneau). T 2:24. A—25,580 (47,447).
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