Miguel Sano's 3 RBIs leads Minnesota past Seattle 6-5
SEATTLE (AP) Considering all the troubles of the first two months, the Minnesota Twins could laugh and crack some smiles after the wacky and unlikely double play to close out their third straight win.
And it was a finish that, in his lengthy career, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor had never seen.
''A lot of it blurs together after about four decades,'' Molitor said. ''But to record a double play when there's not a force in order like that, in a situation where the tying run is 90 feet away, it's just a bizarre ending. But we haven't caught a lot of breaks and we caught one here tonight, for sure.''
Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer in the first inning and drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh and the Twins used an unlikely double play to close out a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.
Kevin Jepsen pitched the ninth for his fifth save despite Seattle having the tying run at third base with no outs. Jepsen got a shallow popout from Dae-Ho Lee that was not deep enough to score Shawn O'Malley from third. Seattle then ran itself into a game-ending double play with O'Malley getting caught off third base and Kyle Seager tagged out trying to advance to second.
There were a number of important moments in the 2-4-5-6 double play. It started with catcher Juan Centeno not letting Jepsen's pitch bounce too far away and making a strong throw to second after Seager broke from first. Second baseman Brian Dozier also made the right read seeing O'Malley drifting away from third as Seager tried to entice a rundown.
And Eduardo Nunez and Eduardo Escobar both made difficult tags at third and second to cap a most unexpected ending that was upheld on review.
''I thought it was a clear play. I know I got my tag down in time,'' Escobar said through an interpreter. ''I know Nunez was saying it was a little bit close, but I thought I had it.''
Seager said he was trying to be aggressive on a curve ball in the dirt and possibly get in position to be the winning run at second base.
''It didn't work out too well,'' he said.
The final play was another escape act for Minnesota. Seattle had the bases loaded and no outs in the third and did not score and had Seth Smith thrown out at the plate by Danny Santana trying to score on Nelson Cruz's fly ball in the sixth inning. The fly ball came on the only pitch thrown by Ryan Pressly (2-3), who got the win.
Sano jolted Seattle starter Wade Miley with a two-run shot into the second deck of left field with two outs in the first, but it was his broken bat grounder through the left side of the infield that scored Nunez to give the Twins a 6-5 lead. It was the Twins only hit with a runner in scoring position.
Nunez led off the seventh with a single off Nick Vincent (2-2). After Mauer walked with one out, Sano rolled a grounder in between Luis Sardinas and Seager and into left field, allowing Nunez to score from second. It was the only run not scored on a home run for the Twins.
Nunez and Joe Mauer both hit their fifth home runs of the season as the Twins won three straight for just the second time this season.
Nori Aoki and Sardinas both hit solo home runs for Seattle, but the Mariners were just 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
While Cruz struggled during the game, he made a little history during pregame batting practice by hitting a ball completely out of Safeco Field. The team said that Cruz's shot, which cleared the second deck of seats in left field, was the first ball known to have completely left the stadium.
Twins: C Kurt Suzuki left in the third inning with concussion-like symptoms. The team said he passed the concussion testing and is day-to-day. ... An MRI on the right knee of 3B Trevor Plouffe revealed a bone bruise but no ligament damage. The Twins plan to sit Plouffe through the weekend and hope he can play Monday in Oakland. Plouffe left in the fourth inning of Friday's series opener.
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte is progressing quicker than expected recovering from a thumb injury. Marte hit in the cage and took groundballs before Saturday's game. If there are no setbacks, Marte is expected to go out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma the middle of next week.
Twins: Rick Nolasco (1-3) tries to bounce back after lasting a season-low 2 2/3 innings in his last start against Kansas City.
Mariners: Taijuan Walker (2-4) starts for Seattle. He lost his last time out despite only giving up one earned run against Oakland.