Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson, who had an ERA above eight in his previous four games, shut down the Mariners’ dubious offense for seven innings while Twins’ hitters pounded Seattle starter Chris Young for five doubles and two home runs in a 5-4 triumph in chilly Minneapolis Friday night.
Gibson gave up six hits, two walks and a single score to run the Mariners’ losing streak to three games and drop below .500 at 20-21 to start of a five-game road trip.
The Mariners in the ninth pushed the tying run to third base after Michael Saunders singled — his third hit after returning the the lineup — then moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on an infield out by Robinson Cano.
But cleanup hitter Corey Hart popped to first and Justin Smoak grounded weakly to pitcher Glen Perkins to end the game. It was the Mariners’ first loss after a day off in eight opportunities.
After Gibson left, the Mariners perked up with one out in the eighth. Justin Smoak singled, Kyle Seager walked and both came home on a triple to right center by Dustin Ackley, his second of the season.
Ackley scored easily on a long sacrifice fly by Mike Zunino. Casey Fien came on to relieve Caleb Thielbar and gave up a walk to Brad Miller. But the threat ended when Jones was called out on strikes.
The Twins thwarted Young’s attempt at a fourth successive win by pounding his high fastball for hits instead of his usual fly-outs. He gave up 10 hits and a walk in seven innings with no strikeouts.
Minnesota’s first three batters in the third — Aaron Hicks, Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier — all doubled for a pair of runs. The Twins scored single runs in the next three innings — a homer by Josmil Pinto in the fourth, a homer by Brian Dozier in the fifth and a bases-loaded single by Escobar in the sixth that plated the winning run.
Seattle pulled one back in the fifth on a double by Cano that scored from first Saunders, who walked.
Saunders was back after a four-game absence due to a hyperextended knee. He was moved to second in the lineup behind rookie James Jones. Saunders led off 12 times earlier this season . . . Game 2 is 4:10 p.m. Saturday when LHP Roenis Elias (3-2, 3.50) goes against the Twins RHP Samuel Deduno (0-2, 3.64).