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Seattle Mariners

James Paxton continues dominant May as Mariners beat Twins 2-1

By Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – James Paxton continued his dominant month by allowing one run in seven innings and striking out 11, and Mitch Haniger’s two-out RBI single in the sixth inning helped give the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

Seattle won its 14th one-run game, thanks largely to another strong performance by Paxton. The lefty allowed three hits – two of them to Max Kepler – and didn’t walk a batter adding to a magnificent May that has been the finest month of his career.

In four of his five starts this month Paxton (4-1) has pitched at least seven innings. He has a pair of complete games, including the first no-hitter of his career, and has allowed a combined five earned runs in 38 innings with 46 strikeouts.

Paxton’s one mistake was Kepler’s home run leading off the fifth inning on a slider in the middle of the plate. Paxton had retired the previous 12 batters before Kepler’s seventh homer of the season. He finished the inning by striking out the side – the second time he did that to the Twins – and completed his night after throwing 103 pitches.

Nick Vincent bridged the eighth and Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth for his A.L.-leading 18th save.

Minnesota starter Fernando Romero (2-1) was nearly the equal of Paxton. Making his fifth career start, the 23-year-old right-hander allowed five hits in seven innings and struck out seven. The timing of those hits was the issue.

Jean Segura led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second and scored on Nelson Cruz’s two-out single. Romero retired 10 straight following Cruz’s hit, but ran into trouble in the sixth. He walked Guillermo Heredia on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and a wild pitch advanced Heredia to second base. In his previous at-bat, Haniger hit into the shift grounding out to Brian Dozier playing on the shortstop side of second base. This time, Haniger hit behind the shift, grounding a single into center field and scoring Heredia with the go-ahead run.

Trade winds

Seattle made the first major trade of the season, acquiring outfielder Denard Span and right-handed reliever Alex Colome from Tampa Bay in exchange for minor-league pitchers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Span is expected to be Seattle’s regular left fielder while Colome was an All-Star in 2016 and a major boost to the bullpen.