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Seattle at Minnesota

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Seattle0210000003110
Minnesota «30100102x7151

LeCroy stays hot as Twins knock off Mariners

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins are back in the thick of the postseason chase.

Matthew LeCroy hit his third home run in two games, leading the Twins over the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.

Justin Morneau drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run in the third, and Shannon Stewart had his second four-hit game of the season in Minnesota's seventh win in eight games.

Seattle lost for the fifth time in eight games, leaving five men on base in the first two innings.

The Twins remain in fourth place in the wild-card race, but moved within 3½ games of idle Oakland after Joe Mays (6-8) won for the first time since July 3.

"We're dangerous when we can hit because we can pitch," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had a lot of good at-bats, a lot of quality at-bats."

Ryan Franklin (6-13) lost his second straight start since his 10-day suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs in six innings. Last Friday, he allowed a career-high eight earned runs and 12 hits against Los Angeles.

Franklin's frustration was evident. A television camera showed an apparent argument between him and pitching coach Bryan Price in the dugout after the first inning, and the two had to be separated.

"It's just been a frustrating couple, 2½ months, if you know what I mean," Franklin said. "But I'm a man, and I've got to be able to control that frustration."

Manager Mike Hargrove downplayed the dispute, declining to give specific details and advising Franklin not to comment.

"On a scale of one to 10, it's a one, tops," Hargrove said. "It didn't really bother me. It's just two highly competitive people in a highly competitive situation, and it's all taken care of."

LeCroy gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead in the first inning when he hit a pitch from Franklin well over the center-field fence for a two-run homer, one batter after Nick Punto scored on a fielder's choice.

Mays allowed three earned runs and nine hits in six innings while striking out three, but was fortunate to get out of the opening two innings allowing just two runs.

In his previous six starts, Mays was 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in 32 2/3 innings.

"When the team is playing well, you don't want to be the one to screw it up," said Mays, who missed last season after right elbow surgery and is trying to stay in the team's plans.

"Here's a guy with a lot of pressure on himself trying to pitch for a contract next year, the whole package," Gardenhire said. "He's sat out for almost a year and a half of baseball and he goes out there and competes as hard as he can. It hasn't been beautiful, but he's battling his tail off."

Despite three singles, Seattle left the bases loaded in the first when Adrian Beltre popped out and Jeremy Reed grounded out.

"(We're) just not executing like we should be. When we get guys on base, we've got to get them in," said Willie Bloomquist, who had two hits.

Yuniesky Betancourt doubled in a run and Raul Ibanez singled in another as the Mariners got three hits in the second, but left two men on when Mays got Richie Sexson to bounce out for the third out.

"That was huge because he stayed away from the big inning," said Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson, noting that in a number of starts Mays has pitched three or four shutout innings then allowed a four- or five-run frame.

Beltre led off the third with a homer to tie the game at 3, but Mays retired 11 of his final 13 batters after a midgame conversation with Anderson, who told Mays to trust himself and be more aggressive.

"We started to mix a little more of the curveball in there and a little bit more of the slider. I was able to get them off the fastball and we were able to put up some zeros," Mays said.

Morneau singled home Stewart in the third. Brent Abernathy singled to score Lew Ford in the sixth to make it 5-3.

Stewart and Punto added RBI singles in the eighth.

Notes

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the first. ... Minnesota's Torii Hunter, out indefinitely with a broken left ankle, is expected to travel to the Twin Cities this weekend for an exam. ... Minnesota has won five straight for the first time since April 26-30. ... Minnesota stole two bases and now has nine in four games, the highest in a four-game stretch since April 15-18, 2004.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Minnesota

S. Stewart
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
Minnesota

M. LeCroy
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4010101 .307
Willie Bloomquist, 2B4020000 .269
Raul Ibanez, LF4011013 .294
Richie Sexson, 1B4020002 .262
Adrian Beltre, 3B4121004 .262
Jeremy Reed, CF4000004 .256
Mike Morse, DH4110021 .299
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3111000 .258
   a- Dave Hansen, PH1000000 .170
Miguel Ojeda, C2000100 .133
   b- Scott Spiezio, PH1010000 .064
Totals3531132315 
a-grounded out for Betancourt in the 9th
b-singled for Ojeda in the 9th
Batting
2B - Yuniesky Betancourt (4, Mays)
HR - Adrian Beltre (17, Mays)
RBI - Raul Ibanez (69), Adrian Beltre (72), Yuniesky Betancourt (4)
2-OUT RBI - Raul Ibanez (35)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Betancourt-Bloomquist-Sexson
Seattle Mariners
Ryan Franklin (L,6-13) 61155141 5.10
George Sherrill 1000120 2.57
J.J. Putz 0.1422000 3.91
Matt Thornton 0.2000010 5.63
IBB - Jones by Ryan Franklin
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Franklin 94-65, George Sherrill 17-11, J.J. Putz 21-14, Matt Thornton 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Franklin 8-5, George Sherrill 1-0, Matt Thornton 1-0
Batters Faced - Ryan Franklin 29, George Sherrill 4, J.J. Putz 5, Matt Thornton 2
Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF5141001 .280
Nick Punto, SS5111015 .248
Joe Mauer, C5020022 .299
Justin Morneau, 1B5112022 .243
Matthew LeCroy, DH3112112 .272
    Jason Bartlett, PR-DH0000000 .244
Jacque Jones, RF3000111 .259
Lew Ford, CF4120003 .259
Michael Cuddyer, 3B4110002 .257
Brent Abernathy, 2B3021000 .343
    Luis Rodriguez, 2B1110000 .263
Totals3871572718 
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (19, Putz)
HR - Matthew LeCroy (13, Franklin)
RBI - Shannon Stewart (51), Nick Punto (17), Justin Morneau 2 (60), Matthew LeCroy 2 (34), Brent Abernathy (5)
2-OUT RBI - Matthew LeCroy 2 (15), Brent Abernathy (3)
SB - Lew Ford (10, 2nd base off Franklin/Ojeda), Brent Abernathy (2, 2nd base off Franklin/Ojeda)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Morneau-Punto, Punto-Morneau, Rodriguez-Morneau
E - Michael Cuddyer (15, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Joe Mays (W,6-8) 6933221 5.00
J.C. Romero (H,10) 1000000 3.02
Juan Rincon (H,18) 1100010 2.56
Jesse Crain 1100000 2.65
WP - Joe Mays (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Mays 94-57, J.C. Romero 11-5, Juan Rincon 15-10, Jesse Crain 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 8-6, J.C. Romero 1-2, Jesse Crain 2-0
Batters Faced - Joe Mays 27, J.C. Romero 3, Juan Rincon 4, Jesse Crain 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22230
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Larry Poncino