MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nelson Cruz drove in four runs, Mitch Haniger had four hits, and the Seattle Mariners started a series against Minnesota with a football score for the second time in a week to beat the Twins 14-3 on Monday night.
Danny Valencia and Mike Zunino hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, the fifth such feat for the Mariners this season. Yovani Gallardo (3-6) sailed through six innings with the excess support, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Twins rookie Adalberto Mejia (1-2) struggled from the start, allowing nine hits and nine runs and leaving with two outs in the fourth inning. The first two batters in the lineup, Ben Gamel and Haniger, reached base and eventually scored all three times they faced Mejia.
Cruz just missed a homer for the seventh straight game at Target Field, settling for an RBI double off the wall against Twins backup catcher Chris Gimenez in the mop-up ninth inning following a replay review that reversed the original call. Gimenez made his fifth appearance of the year to relieve a beleaguered bullpen.
That’s because the Twins, despite their perch in first place in the AL Central, have allowed 10-plus runs an astounding 10 times already this season. That’s two games in a row, too, following a 13-8 loss at San Francisco on Sunday afternoon. They lost 12-3 in Seattle to the Mariners just six days ago.
Zunino and Carlos Ruiz were the previous pair to hit consecutive homers for the Mariners, also against the Twins last week during a 6-5 comeback victory.
Brian Dozier had three hits and Joe Mauer drove in two runs for the Twins, who lost their fifth straight home game.
Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez will get at least one more rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma, after a successful turn on Sunday.
“We want to get him up to 80, 85 pitches so when he comes back we feel good about running him out to 100,” manager Scott Servais said. “I’m really excited he threw the ball much better and kind of got his rhythm going out there on the mound.”
Mariners: SS Jean Segura will try to run on his injured right ankle before the game Tuesday, an important test before he can return from the DL.
Twins: SS Jorge Polanco returned from the bereavement list after missing seven games because of the death of his grandfather. He entered as a pinch-hitter.
Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (3-3, 4.03 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday after taking the loss to the Twins in his previous turn last week.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (3-4, 6.52 ERA) starts the second game of the series, having beaten Bergman and the Mariners on Thursday in his best outing this season.
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