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Seattle at Minnesota

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Seattle (64-68) «100004000560
Minnesota (53-78)200000020461

M's hold off Twins to take three of four

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- These young Seattle Mariners have taken more than their share of lumps over the last three seasons, getting beaten down by more experienced, better-equipped teams in the powerful American League.

As they prepare to enter the final month of manager Eric Wedge's third year on the job, the Mariners are finally starting to give their fans some reason for optimism.

Blake Beavan gave up two runs in seven innings and Trayvon Robinson drove in two runs to lift Seattle to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

Beavan (9-8) scattered five hits, walked two and struck out one, shrugging off a shaky first inning.

Kyle Seager also drove in two runs for the Mariners, who have won 11 of their last 15 games and posted back-to-back winning months for the first time since 2009.

"They've gained a great deal of experience this year," Wedge said. "We've had a lot of tough games, a lot of tight games, very similar to today. Their heartbeat's a lot better. They're much more experienced and they're doing a lot better job in step-up opportunities."

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Brian Duensing (3-10) gave up three earned runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He left after loading the bases in the sixth, and left fielder Josh Willingham's blunder contributed to Seattle's four-run inning.

Willingham's two-run homer in the eighth off Stephen Pryor made things interesting, but Tom Wilhelmsen picked up his 21st save to help the Mariners take three of four in the series.

The Twins had the tying run on third base after pinch runner Darin Mastroianni stole two bases, but a shaky Wilhelmsen got Ben Revere to ground out to preserve a well-deserved win for Beavan.

Beavan wasn't overpowering, but he mixed his pitches and changed speeds just enough to keep the Twins off balance one night after they erupted for 10 runs. After giving up two runs in the first inning, Beavan retired 14 of his last 15 hitters.

"We just took the momentum and ran with it," Beavan said.

The Mariners loaded the bases to start the sixth and Duensing left after giving up a sacrifice fly to Seager that tied it. Willingham then dropped an easy fly ball by Jesus Montero to score another run and make it 3-2. Robinson added a two-run single.

"We've got each other's back from the first inning to the last inning," Robinson said. "It's kind of like a snowball. Once somebody does it, everybody does it."

The Mariners were 16 games under .500 on July 15, a lackluster start that ultimately led the organization to decide to part ways with longtime icon Ichiro Suzuki in a trade with the Yankees. But they have quietly been playing some of the best baseball in the AL over the last month.

They had a seven-game win streak to close July and an eight-gamer earlier this month to start climbing back up to respectability. And after a three-game sweep by the White Sox in Chicago, the Mariners bounced back with three wins in Minnesota before heading home for a September filled with games against AL West opponents, and plenty of chances to show everyone that they're not the same team that has been kicked around for the last three years.

"Everybody's just kind of feeding off each other," Beavan said. "Everybody wants to get better and is willing to put in the extra effort and the work. ... You're starting to see that. Guys are buying into that way of playing.

Notes

  • Mariners OF Michael Saunders missed his sixth straight game with a groin strain, but manager Eric Wedge said he expected him back on Friday.
  • Twins C Joe Mauer has thrown out only six of 49 runners trying to steal this season, by far the worst percentage of his career. Manager Ron Gardenhire blamed slow slide-step deliveries by the team's pitchers. But he also said the Twins are working with Mauer on staying on the balls of his feet. He has been catching the ball flat-footed, making it harder to deliver a powerful on-target throw.
  • The Mariners will open a home series with the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. RHP Kevin Millwood (4-11, 4.28) will start the opener against Dan Haren (8-10, 4.82). The Twins are headed to Kansas City, where RHP Cole De Vries (3-5, 4.68) will face Royals LHP Will Smith (4-6, 5.55).
 
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
Seattle

F. Gutierrez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Minnesota

A. Casilla
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Dustin Ackley, 2B3100100 .229
Franklin Gutierrez, CF4220000 .273
Kyle Seager, 3B3012000 .252
Jesus Montero, C3111001 .257
Justin Smoak, 1B3000123 .189
Miguel Olivo, DH2000021 .213
   a- John Jaso, PH-DH1000101 .278
Trayvon Robinson, LF4012011 .247
Eric Thames, RF4000023 .241
Brendan Ryan, SS4110000 .202
Totals3156537  
a-walked for Olivo in the 6th
Batting
2B - Franklin Gutierrez (3, Duensing)
SF - Kyle Seager (4), Jesus Montero (5)
RBI - Kyle Seager 2 (77), Jesus Montero (52), Trayvon Robinson 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Trayvon Robinson 2 (4)
SB - Franklin Gutierrez (3, 2nd base off Fien/Mauer)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Ackley-Ryan-Smoak
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Blake Beavan (W,9-8) 7522210 4.95
Charlie Furbush (H,4) 0.2011100 2.30
Stephen Pryor (H,2) 0.1111001 2.70
Tom Wilhelmsen (S,21) 1000210 2.60
Pitches-Strikes - Blake Beavan 96-57, Charlie Furbush 18-10, Stephen Pryor 7-4, Tom Wilhelmsen 22-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Blake Beavan 6-13, Tom Wilhelmsen 1-1
Batters Faced - Blake Beavan 27, Charlie Furbush 3, Stephen Pryor 2, Tom Wilhelmsen 5
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ben Revere, CF4100102 .303
Alexi Casilla, 2B3221100 .212
Joe Mauer, C3010101 .312
Josh Willingham, LF4112014 .262
Justin Morneau, 1B3001001 .274
Ryan Doumit, DH3010102 .285
    Darin Mastroianni, PR-DH0000000 .272
Chris Parmelee, RF4010003 .205
Trevor Plouffe, 3B3000101 .240
    Jamey Carroll, PR0000000 .248
Pedro Florimon, SS4000013 .256
Totals3146452  
Batting
2B - Ryan Doumit (27, Beavan)
HR - Josh Willingham (33, Pryor)
SF - Justin Morneau (6)
RBI - Alexi Casilla (25), Josh Willingham 2 (96), Justin Morneau (64)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Willingham 2 (39)
SB - Ben Revere (31, 2nd base off Beavan/Montero), Alexi Casilla (16, 2nd base off Beavan/Montero), Darin Mastroianni 2 (17, 2nd base off Wilhelmsen/Montero, 3rd base off Wilhelmsen/Montero)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Florimon-Casilla-Morneau
E - Josh Willingham (4, Dropped fly)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brian Duensing (L,3-10) 5.1443230 5.26
Casey Fien 0.2110120 1.13
Kyle Waldrop 1000000 3.00
Jared Burton 1100010 2.17
Glen Perkins 1000010 2.72
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Duensing 70-42, Casey Fien 25-14, Kyle Waldrop 14-8, Jared Burton 16-11, Glen Perkins 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Duensing 8-4, Kyle Waldrop 3-0, Jared Burton 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Duensing 21, Casey Fien 5, Kyle Waldrop 3, Jared Burton 4, Glen Perkins 3
Game Information
Attendance - 32578
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Doug Eddings