CANO, SEAGER HIT THREE-RUN HOMERS AND M’S POUND TWINS
What happened: The Seattle Mariners offense is on a pretty good roll right now and the Minnesota Twins are the latest to pay the price.
Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager both hit three-run home runs and the Mariners pounded the Twins 12-3 on Tuesday at Safeco Field.
The Mariners (29-30) entered play averaging 7.1 runs in their previous eight games and upped that average to 7.7. The M’s have outscored their opponents 69-25 in the stretch with a 2.78 ERA.
James Paxton, making his second start since being activated from the disabled list, allowed three runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. All of the damage came in the fourth and fifth innings, once the Mariners had built a big lead.
Paxton wasn’t as sharp as his return last week against Colorado, but cruised through the first three innings hitless before giving up some contact in his last two innings of work. It’s notable that Paxton made one four-inning rehab appearance before his activation, so his stamina is not in mid-season form.
Cano finished 2 for 3 with three runs and three RBIs, Seager was 2 for 4 with four RBIs and Danny Valencia was 1 for 3 with three driven in.
- The M’s got out of the gate quickly, with some help from Twins starter Adalberto Santiago. Guillermo Heredia and Danny Valencia both drew walks, then Robinson Cano jumped on a 80 mph screwball that didn’t move enough and ripped a line drive to right center for his 11th home run of the season.
- Meanwhile, Paxton was cruising. The big lefty made it through three innings without allowing a hit and walking just one – which was erased by a double play – while striking out three.
- With one out in the bottom of the third, Cano and Nelson Cruz walked. Santiago gave Kyle Seager a cutter that just floated across the plate and Seager yanked it into right for an RBI double. Taylor Motter then hit a sacrifice fly to left that plated Cruz and moved Seager to third. Twins manager Paul Molitor had seen enough and lifted Santiago after 2 2/3 innings.
- Paxton showed his first blemish in the fourth as a four-seam fastball stayed up and Brian Dozier crushed it to left-center for a solo homer, his ninth homer of the season. Two batters later, Miguel Sano doubled off the base of the wall in right-center. Sano went to third on a wild pitch and Robie Grossman, which initiated a visit from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. A fielder’s choice plated Sano and Paxton was able to get a pop up to end the inning.
- The M’s loaded the bases against Randy Rosario in the fourth with no outs. Mike Zunino singled, Jarrod Dyson was hit, and Heredia singled to short left. After several long foul balls, Valencia finally got hold of one and ripped it to the left-center gap, clearing the bases and making it 8-2. Cano’s single up the middle put runners on the corners. Cruz dropped one into left to score Valencia, then Seager crushed a three-run shot to make it 12-2.
- The game slogged in an unremarkable fashion from that point until the eighth, when the Twins decided to protect any further damage to their bullpen and asked catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. Position players pitch on occasion, but rarely do non-catchers catch, which makes utility infielder Eduardo Escobar donning the “tools of ignorance” to catch Gimemez that much more impressive. Gimenez tossed a 1-2-3 inning.
The offensive fireworks over the past 10 days or so have been impressive. Some figured that this was the team we were going to see from the beginning this season, but the M’s have scratched their way back to just one game below .500 and finally, at last, could seriously envision challenging for a wildcard down the stretch if the pitching gets healthy.
Tweet of the Day
Minnesota Twins (29-25) at Seattle Mariners (29-30) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field. RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-6, 6.24) vs. LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-1. 3.95).
What others are saying (and writing)
With Felix Hernandez returning to the mound last night in Tacoma, and Mitch Haniger joining him, the Times’ Ryan Divish covered that game instead of the one at Safeco. … Jean Segura may be in a Mariner uniform for a while. After he gets healthy, of course. … Paxton’s Big Maple nickname is gaining more traction. Is that a good thing? … The 13-2 blowout over the Twins continues a trend of the M’s giving teams that have surprised thus far this season a lot of trouble. … Hitting four home runs in a game is one of the rarest feats in baseball. So how did a guy called “Scooter” do it?
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