Mariners Rally Past Twins In 10 For 6th Straight

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For Jack Cust and the Seattle Mariners, it felt good to finally slug their way to a win.

Luis Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and Seattle rallied to win its sixth straight game, beating Jim Thome and the Minnesota Twins 8-7 on Monday night.

Carlos Peguero’s single in the ninth scored pinch-runner Michael Saunders with the tying run, helping the Mariners overcome Thome’s powerful return to the lineup.

“It felt good to pick up the pitching. They’ve picked us up a bunch this year,” said Cust, who homered in the first inning to snap a career-long, 40-game drought. “If we can get our bats going we should be better.”

In his first game off the disabled list, Thome homered twice — including a 465-foot shot that bounced high in the air after landing on the Target Field pavilion in the fourth inning.

He also hit a line drive that had just enough height to clear the wall in left field in the seventh.

The slugger took a curtain call after his second homer, and the Twins held a 7-4 lead. But again, the bullpen couldn’t hold on.

“You go on the DL and you go down, you always want to come back and swing the bat well,” Thome said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t win the ballgame. That’s what you want to do every night. It felt good to swing the bat good, but ultimately, it’s all about winning.”

Jack Wilson led off the 10th with a single against Anthony Swarzak (0-2) and moved to second on Miguel Olivo’s single. Ichiro Suzuki advanced both runners with a sacrifice, and Chone Figgins was intentionally walked. Wilson scored on Rodriguez’s fly to center.

“There were so many moments in that game which were turning points,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Ultimately, there were three or four things that if we don’t do what we need to do, we’re not playing any more.”

Brandon League pitched a perfect inning for his 11th save in 14 chances.

Jamey Wright (1-1) worked around two walks in the ninth to earn the win. He got Jason Repko to ground out with a runner on second to send the game to extra innings.

Denard Span also went deep for the Twins.

After Carl Pavano recovered from a rocky start to retire the final eight batters he faced, Joe Nathan allowed two runs in the eighth and only recorded one out before being relieved by Matt Capps.

Capps escaped the eighth, but Peguero lined a two-out single to center in the ninth to score Saunders from second and tie it at 7.

Capps had a chance to catch Saunders too far off second base on a comebacker to the mound with one out, but failed to make the throw.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire removed his hat in disgust in the dugout, something he has done often as his team continues to make uncharacteristic mental mistakes.

Shortstop Trevor Plouffe also had a couple of blunders.

“Mistakes. We talk about it all the time, the fundamentals — get the outs you’re supposed to. We didn’t do that and it overshadowed a great night by Jim Thome,” Gardenhire said.

Seattle and Minnesota are the two weakest hitting teams in the American League, but combined for 15 runs and 25 hits on Monday.

“Pitching has been the reason why we’ve run this streak,” Wilson said. “It was nice to be able to swing the bat after the relievers kept us in the game.”

It was the first time in eight games that the Mariners allowed more than two runs and the first time in nine games that a Seattle starter failed to pitch at least seven innings.

Jason Vargas allowed five runs in 4 2-3 innings and was chased after Delmon Young’s single gave the Twins a 5-4 lead.

Vargas was 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last four starts before Monday.

“He just didn’t have the command that we’ve seen him have,” Wedge said. “I’m just glad that his teammates were able to pick him up.”

NOTES: The entire Twins team circled around a large No. 3 behind second base to honor Harmon Killebrew during a pregame ceremony. The Twins will hold a public memorial service for Killebrew at 7 p.m. at Target Field on Thursday. … Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer (right hip tightness) and Young (bruised leg) were removed after the seventh for precautionary reasons. … Seattle does not have a player hitting above .300 in its starting lineup. … An MRI exam on Twins RHP Kevin Slowey’s oblique did not reveal any damage, but he wasn’t available. Slowey might be sent to Triple-A Rochester or traded so he can again become a starter. … Minnesota C Joe Mauer and 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka are rehabbing in Florida and could see game action later this week.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • zee the reporter

    Jim Thome the only good player on the team! zee reporting!

    • Good Ol Boy

      You might be overlooking Jason Kubel…

      • Mike D

        and Span, but what else should you expect from Zee, she’s an idiot looking for attention

  • Al

    It’s sad to see all of the other managers eat gardenhoser’s lunch every day. Fire Gardenhoser.

    • Good Ol Boy

      Ahh yes. The familiar call of the boo-birds to have the American League Manager of the Year fired after his team forgets how to pitch, field, and bat. :)

      • Not Al

        They didn’t forget how to pitch, they just have a bunch of pitchers who can’t pitch now. When you let Rauch, Crain, Guerrier, and Fuentes go, what else can you expect? Billy Smith has just run this team into the ground and needs to go.

  • Ahhh, inspiration

    Do they need a new stadium already?

  • John Sherman

    Gee can hardly wait for the next losing team in our sports quiver and the got rid of Punto and Redman for what those guys good play and make mistakes like a shortstop who was playing bounce out and a closer who should have stayed in DC.

    • Sherminator

      Where did people ever get the idea that Punto was ever a valuable asset to this organization? His sliding into first base is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s just that some people bought into this fraud.

      • Good Ol Boy

        Punto was my favorite Twin. Nobody tried harder, and nobody was a better infielder. They still don’t have an infielder with a glove like his.

        • me

          Ain’t that the truth. If you needed a runner advanced, Punto would do it. So what if his own stats were hurt.

          • Punto stinks

            what game were you watching? He was horrible at advancing runners! He always screwed up the sac bunt then when had 2 strikes when he couldn’t bunt, he popped up in the infield.

            If he was so great at fielding, where are his gold gloves? That’s what I thought…

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