SEATTLE (AP) — Chris Colabello had a chance to make a significant difference for the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. However, his third-inning fly ball just wasn’t hit high enough.
After hitting a two-run homer in the previous inning, Colabello was robbed of a three-run shot by Seattle right fielder Endy Chavez and the Mariners held on to beat the Twins 6-4.
Colabello said he had seen this before.
“Part of the game, I guess,” Colabello said. “He’s notorious for robbing homers. I remember the one he had way back in the (2006) LCS for the Mets against the Cardinals.”
The catch kept the Twins’ lead at 2-0 instead of having it increase to 5-0.
“It would have been nice to put one over or off the wall for the team, get a couple more runs, a little more separation.”
That separation was what Twin manager Ron Gardenhire was hoping for.
“That keeps the game at two. It could have been five,” he said. “He made a great play on two of them out there. That’s a big three points at the time. Big play, big play for him, and another nice swing by Colabello. Unfortunately, he made a play.”
Nick Franklin hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the fourth inning, and Michael Saunders added a solo shot to help Seattle get a split of the teams’ four-game series.
Colabello got the Twins started in the second. Ryan Doumit opened with a double that had to be verified by the umpire crew on TV replay. Chavez reached over the wall to deflect it back. The ball caromed off the top of the wall, on the yellow line, and bounced onto the warning track.
Doumit scored on the next pitch as Colabello deposited his second career home run over the wall in straightaway center.
One inning later, Chavez faced nearly the exact situation again. With Brian Dozier on second and Doumit on first with two outs, Colabello drove one high to right. Chavez took a leap at the wall, reached over and this time brought it back in his glove.
“The second I had more time to get to the fence,” Chavez said. “The first one was kind of a line drive. And I had to hurry up to jump. But I could have made both.”
Down 2-1, the Mariners went ahead with a four-run fourth. Saunders tied it with his seventh home run to open the inning, deep into the right-field second deck at 428 feet.
After Henry Blanco reached on a fielder’s choice and Brad Miller walked, Franklin then connected on a 1-1 pitch from Kyle Gibson (2-3) to put the Mariners ahead 5-2.
“I was trying to go in and it came right back over the middle,” Gibson said on the pitch to Saunders. “The same for Franklin. It was the same exact pitch, same exact location really.”
Franklin, who struck out three times in the Twins’ 4-0 win Saturday, said, “honestly I was just trying to get the team going. I just tried to make contact and not try to so anything too special.”
Franklin added another, his 10th, to right field with one out in the seventh. His 10 home runs and his 32 RBI are the most among American League rookies.
Franklin and Miller combined to go 5 for 7, reaching base six times with two home runs, four runs scored and four RBI.
“They spark us up the middle defensively,” Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said. “They spark up at the top of the order. It’s not often you see a couple guys come up from Triple-A and hit 1-2 in the order in a short period of time. They’ve done a great job for us.”
Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits to pick up the victory. He struck out six and walked two.
Ramirez, who missed most of the year with right triceps tendinitis, won his second straight game since being recalled from the minors July 11.
Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth to pick up his 24th save.
After the four-run fourth, the Twins closed to 5-4 with a two-run sixth. Doumit walked and advanced to third on Colabello’s single to left. Clete Thomas drove in Doumit with a single to center and Colabello later scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly.
Franklin and Miller closed it down in the ninth with a skilled collaboration. With Hicks on first and not outs, Pedro Florimon hit a grounder behind the second-base bag. Shortstop Miller flagged it down and flipped it to Franklin coming toward him. Franklin tagged the bag and tossed to first for the double play.
“That was special,” Thompson said. “I was hoping to just get one out of that and we ended up turning a double play. Great way to end it there.”
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier left the game in the sixth with lower back stiffness.
“I did something two nights ago and it locked up on me a couple times,” Dozier said. “It’s just a little back spasm.”
NOTES: After the game, the Twins optioned catcher Drew Butera to Triple-A Rochester. All-Star catcher Joe Mauer will be reinstated from the restricted list Monday and is expected to be in uniform Tuesday night against Kansas City. Mauer spent the maximum three days on the paternity list following the birth of his twin daughters Wednesday, then was moved to the restricted list for two days. … RHP Rich Harden, injured for much of his nine-year big league career, was granted his release by the Twins. Harden had been working out at the team’s facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
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