Minnesota at Seattle

W: S. Baker (12-9) L: J. Vargas (9-7)
HR: MIN - None   SEA - None

Mauer drives in two, leads Twins past Mariners

CBSSports.com wire reports

SEATTLE -- Scott Baker made a mechanical change last month and hasn't lost since. His bullpen has been modified, too, which could help Minnesota settle the AL Central race.

Joe Mauer had three hits and two RBI to lead Baker and the first-place Twins to a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

The sixth three-hit game this month for Minnesota's $184 million native son - plus Baker holding baseball's worst offensive team to five hits and two runs and reliever Matt Guerrier escaping a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth inning one night after struggling -- kept the Twins 3½ games ahead of Chicago.

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"Matty Guerrier was absolutely huge tonight," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Minnesota's bullpen has been scrambling since All-Star closer Joe Nathan went down before the season with an elbow injury that required surgery. Then the Twins lost left-handers Jose Mijares and Ron Mahay to injuries this month.

But before the game, Minnesota acquired four-time All-Star closer Brian Fuentes from the Los Angeles Angels. Gardenhire said the 35-year-old will set up fill-in closer Matt Capps, and occasionally spell him.

Randy Flores relieved Baker (12-9) after Josh Wilson's RBI single in the seventh made it 6-2 and allowed the major league-leading 42nd infield hit by Ichiro Suzuki to load the bases with two outs. But Flores got Chone Figgins to ground out, then pumped his fist to punctuate his Twins debut. They claimed him off waivers from Colorado on Wednesday.

A situational reliever with the Rockies, Flores started his second inning in the eighth but immediately allowed Seattle to load the bases on a single, an error by first baseman Michael Cuddyer and a walk. Right-hander Guerrier entered and got Franklin Gutierrez to foul out on a 2-0 pitch. Adam Moore then bounced into an inning-ending double play, and Seattle fans in a crowd of 37,798 again booed as they have for most of their lost summer.

On Thursday, Guerrier allowed two runs while getting just two outs as the Twins blew most of a six-run lead before winning 6-4.

"Nobody wants to be out there more than Matty," said Baker, who struck out four and walked three in 6 2/3 innings to win his fifth consecutive decision. He joined Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano with at least a dozen wins for the Twins.

"After (Thursday), it was good for him. And good for us."

Suzuki singled, tripled and scored the first run in the third for Seattle on his bobblehead night, but the Mariners still lost for the fifth time in six games to drop to 28 games under .500.

Denard Span, Orlando Hudson and Mauer combined for six hits in their first 12 at-bats to help Minnesota build a 6-1 lead by the seventh. The top three batters in the Twins' lineup were 4 for 9 against starter Jason Vargas (9-7).

Vargas threw 28 pitches in his first inning and 30 in his last one, Minnesota's three-run sixth. He gave up nine hits and five runs, four earned, in six innings.

In his last start, Vargas allowed the Yankees four runs in the first.

"I don't think it was near as bad as his last outing in the first inning," Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said. "He left a few balls up in the zone, but overall it wasn't a bad job."


  • After the game, the Twins sent LHP Glen Perkins to Triple-A Rochester to make roster room for Fuentes.
  • Suzuki has 499 infield hits in his 10-year career. Mets 2B Luis Castillo is baseball's active leader with 528 entering Friday.
  • The Twins, who beat Texas ace Cliff Lee on Thursday, are 19-9 against the AL West. They were 19-21 against that division last year and haven't had a winning record against it since 2007.
  • Mariners second-round draft pick Marcus Littlewood, an 18-year-old infielder from St. George, Utah, took batting practice with the big club two weeks after signing just before the deadline to do so. Asked what took him so long to sign, Littlewood said he was conflicted by turning down a baseball scholarship he had already accepted with the University of San Diego.
Copyright 2017 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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Joe Mauer snags three hits and two RBI in a stellar outing against the Mariners. (AP)
Joe Mauer snags three hits and two RBI in a stellar outing against the Mariners. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Figgins
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

J. Mauer
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF5020011 .269
Orlando Hudson, 2B5220011 .285
Joe Mauer, DH5032011 .330
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4110103 .274
Delmon Young, LF5110035 .306
Danny Valencia, 3B3112100 .325
Jason Repko, RF3110111 .239
Alexi Casilla, SS4011013 .283
Drew Butera, C3001012 .198
2B - Orlando Hudson 2 (21, Vargas, Olson), Joe Mauer (40, Olson)
3B - Danny Valencia (1, Vargas)
SF - Drew Butera (2)
RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (69), Danny Valencia 2 (22), Alexi Casilla (14), Drew Butera (11)
2-OUT RBI - Alexi Casilla (9)
SB - Jason Repko (1, 2nd base off Olson/Moore)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Valencia-Hudson-Cuddyer, Casilla-Hudson-Cuddyer
E - Michael Cuddyer (5, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (W,12-9) 6.2522340 4.55
Randy Flores (H,5) 0.1200100 2.93
Matt Guerrier (H,21) 1000000 3.51
Jon Rauch 1111110 3.40
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 101-66, Randy Flores 23-12, Matt Guerrier 7-5, Jon Rauch 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 7-8, Randy Flores 2-0, Matt Guerrier 1-1, Jon Rauch 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 27, Randy Flores 5, Matt Guerrier 2, Jon Rauch 5
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF5120001 .311
Chone Figgins, 2B4012113 .248
Russell Branyan, DH4010112 .238
Jose Lopez, 3B4000002 .240
Casey Kotchman, 1B3110100 .226
Franklin Gutierrez, CF4010003 .246
Adam Moore, C4010013 .197
Matt Tuiasosopo, LF3000122 .188
Josh Wilson, SS3111102 .253
3B - Ichiro Suzuki (3, Baker)
RBI - Chone Figgins 2 (32), Josh Wilson (18)
2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (13), Josh Wilson (8)
Team LOB - 9
Outfield Assists - Franklin Gutierrez 1
PB - Adam Moore (5)
E - Ichiro Suzuki (4, Throwing), Josh Wilson (14, Throwing)
Seattle Mariners
Jason Vargas (L,9-7) 6954130 3.53
Garrett Olson 2211130 5.76
David Aardsma 1100130 4.04
WP - David Aardsma (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 103-69, Garrett Olson 37-24, David Aardsma 30-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 5-9, Garrett Olson 2-1
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 27, Garrett Olson 9, David Aardsma 5
Game Information
Attendance - 37798
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Ed Rapuano