MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chris Gimenez homered twice for the first time in his big league career, Eduardo Escobar sparked a five-run first inning for Minnesota with a two-run shot, and Jose Berrios and the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 on Thursday.
Berrios (6-1) pitched a career-best eight innings to win his third straight start. He struck out six and yielded two runs and five hits.
Gimenez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the fateful first for Ariel Miranda (6-3), who lost for the first time in 10 starts for the Mariners and lasted only four innings with 10 hits and six runs allowed. Gimenez hit a solo drive in the third inning, giving the backup catcher 18 home runs in 867 big league plate appearances.
Escobar has three homers in the last five games. He went 3 for 4 and is batting .362 with four home runs and 12 RBIs against left-handers this season. In his last eight games overall, Escobar is 18 for 31 with eight RBIs.
The Twins raised their home record, the worst in the major leagues, to 14-20 with the four-game series split. They have a two-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, ahead of a weekend series at home against the Indians.
Berrios finished six innings only once in 14 starts as a rookie last season on his way to an 8.02 ERA. This year, five of his seven turns have lasted at least that long. He silenced a lineup that totaled 45 hits and 27 runs over the first three games of the series, handing the Mariners just their sixth loss in the last 18 games.
Ben Gamel and Robinson Cano had RBI singles. Gamel has reached base 14 times in his last 24 plate appearances.
MIRANDA NOT RIGHT
With fellow starters Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly all on the disabled list and James Paxton just recently coming off of it, Miranda has been a key cog in the rotation.
He was 5-0 in his last nine starts, with six straight turns of two or fewer runs allowed, until this dud that began with a leadoff double by Brian Dozier. Mitch Haniger had a reasonable opportunity to catch it on the warning track, but the ball veered to his right at the end of its journey and eluded his glove. Escobar followed with a home run, his third in five games.
Miranda, the 28-year-old acquired last summer in a trade with Baltimore for Wade Miley, has allowed 11 homers with a 6.56 ERA in eight starts on the road
Mariners: SS Jean Segura (sprained right ankle) could play a rehab game for Triple-A Tacoma this weekend and be back in the lineup as soon as next week. … Iwakuma made his first rehab start for Class A Modesto on Wednesday, finishing four scoreless innings with one hit allowed.
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago (sore left shoulder) threw a bullpen session, remaining in the mix to come off the 10-day DL and start one game of the split doubleheader on Saturday.
Mariners: Paxton (5-1, 2.25 ERA) will start at Texas on Friday to begin a three-game series. The LHP took his first loss on Sunday against Toronto, with four runs surrendered in four innings. For the Rangers, RH Tyson Ross will make his season debut.
Twins: LHP Nik Turley (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will take the mound on Friday to open a four-game series against Cleveland. He made his major league debut on Sunday for the Twins at San Francisco, allowing four runs in four innings. RHP Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 3.36 ERA) will start for the Indians.
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