SEATTLE (AP) — Only Ryan Doumit was able to keep the Minnesota Twins from adding to a historic week of offensive futility.
Doumit hit a pair of solo homers to account for all of Minnesota’s offense, but the Twins couldn’t overcome Nick Blackburn’s rough early innings in a 5-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Rookie slugger Jesus Montero lined a two-run double in the first inning to get Seattle on the board, Mike Carp added his first homer of the season and the Mariners cruised to their second straight win over the Twins.
“It hasn’t been a fun season for anyone,” Blackburn said. “All we can do is go out there and keep playing. I’m not concerned at all about the guys in the clubhouse.”
Doumit had three of Minnesota’s five hits, including his second and third homers of the season. But both shots came when the Twins were already facing a 5-0 hole.
Minnesota’s offense had already taken its place in baseball history this week. Before Sunday’s game, the nine hits in the previous four games by Minnesota — including a no-hitter by the Angels’ Jered Weaver and a combined one-hitter courtesy mostly of Felix Hernandez on Saturday night — were the fewest hits in a four-game span since 1900, according to statistics provided by the Twins from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Minnesota had been shut out in three of its previous four games for the first time since 1996 and was on the verge of yet another shutout until Doumit’s homer leading off the seventh inning.
Changes are coming for the Twins starting Monday. Touted prospect Brian Dozier is expected to join the team in Minnesota with Justin Morneau and his sore right wrist headed to the disabled list.
“We’re going through a dry patch right now,” Doumit said. “It’s just baseball. It’s a cyclical game. Sometimes you score a lot of runs, sometimes you don’t. We’re at the opposite end right now.”
Blackburn (0-4) made it through six innings, but was battered early and remained winless in five starts this season.
Left-handed batters came in hitting .407 against Blackburn this year and a Mariners lineup full of lefties did its part. But it was Montero, a right-hander and the centerpiece of Seattle’s big offseason trade with the Yankees, who got it going early. His two-run double just inside the bag at third in the first was followed by Kyle Seager’s long line-drive single off the wall in right that scored Montero.
Carp then opened the second with a solo shot deep into the seats in right field. It was just his third hit since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week after he missed nearly a month with a shoulder sprain suffered during the season-opening series in Japan.
Seattle went ahead 5-0 in the fourth when Dustin Ackley lined a triple into the left-center field gap, then scored on Brendan Ryan’s sacrifice foul out down the right-field line.
“Later I got in a groove, got things a little more figured out,” said Blackburn, who retired seven of the final eight batters he faced. “But it was one of those days that was not a lot of fun.”
Seattle starter Hector Noesi took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up Doumit’s first homer. Despite the home run, Noesi (2-3) allowed just four hits and struck out five.
While Montero was the focus of Seattle’s trade with the Yankees, Noesi was a piece the Mariners were equally excited about. His potential was on display in early April when Noesi threw eight shutout innings against Oakland. But in his three starts since, Noesi was 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA.
Facing the Twins’ meek offense certainly helped. Noesi gave up singles in the first, third and fourth innings and didn’t allow a baserunner past second until Doumit’s second homer of the season in the seventh. Doumit made it his fifth career multi-homer game when he lined a solo shot in the ninth off reliever Tom Wilhelmsen.
“He just continued on doing what we’ve seen the last couple of starts,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “He was doing a good job of commanding his fastball and reaching out front and really finishing off his pitches and then using all of his secondary stuff.”
Notes: Seager has 10 RBIs over his past five games. … Twins C Joe Mauer was back behind the plate for the first time since taking a foul tip off the inside of his knee and spending most of the past week as a designated hitter. … The Twins will call up LHP Scott Diamond on Monday from Triple-A Rochester. Minnesota will announce the corresponding roster move on Monday.
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