Continuing to back premier starting pitching with just enough hitting, the Mariners ran their winning streak to five with a 5-1 win over Minnesota Sunday at Safeco Field to complete their first home sweep of the Twins since 2001.
Michael Saunders hit his first home run since July 24, a two-run shot in the seventh, to put Seattle up 4-1. Prior to that, the only runs came in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk to John Jaso and a double-play grounder from Jesus Montero that plated a run. The Mariners drew six walks off Twins starter and loser Sam Deduno.
Starter Blake Beavan had another solid start, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk in 5.1 innings and 97 pitches. Relievers Carter Capps, Oliver Perez and Josh Kinney, who threw the final 2.2 innings for his first major league save, followed Beavan to deny Minnesota. The only Twins run came in the second when a sacrifice fly brought home Josh Willingham, who doubled off the top of the field fence.
Eric Thames had three hits, including an RBI double in the seventh for the Mariners’ final run. It was the Mariners’ 12th win in the past 13 home games for the Mariners.
Meanwhile Tampa Bay, which lost two of three in Seattle last week, including 1-0 Wednesday on a perfect game by Felix Hernandez, completed a four-game sweep of the Angels in Anaheim Sunday that helped close the gap between the last-place Mariners (58-64), who have won seven of eight, to four games behind the third-place Angels (62-60).
The Cleveland Indians, who have lost 18 of their past 22, including 7-0 in Oakland Sunday, come to Seattle Monday for a three-game series. The pitching-poor Indians are 10-26 since the All-Star break, and gave up 21 runs in three games to the A’s, the worst hitting team in the American League.