Twins closer Brandon Kintzler, who gave up a walk-off homer on Wednesday, bounced back with his 16th save as three relievers held Seattle scoreless over the final three frames. Minnesota opened up a 1 1/2-game lead over idle Cleveland in the American League West at 30-26 and avoided its first series sweep at the hands of the Mariners since 2012.
“I think we always want to get the closer back out if you can after a hiccup,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It was a game where we had an opportunity to score more runs, which I thought would have made it a little more comfortable and we didn’t take advantage. But our pitching was good.”
Seattle starter Christian Bergman gave up just four hits and two runs (one earned), but was pulled after five innings as his pitch count hit 92. The 29-year-old right-hander saw his record evened at 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA.
The Mariners, who had won nine of their previous 10, missed a chance to move above .500 for the first time on the year as they slipped back to 30-31.
“We continue to play really good baseball, it just wasn’t our night tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “But giving two runs up against that team, we’ll take that and most times be on the better side of this thing. I’m really happy with the way we’re playing and hopefully we continue that through the weekend.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Not the right kind of double for Cano: Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano committed two errors on the same play in the fifth inning and it cost Seattle a critical run. After Ehire Adrianza singled and stole second, Bergman had two outs when Joe Mauer rolled a grounder to Cano. But the two-time Gold Glove Award winner didn’t field the ball cleanly, then threw wide of third trying to pick off Adrianza after he rounded the bag aggressively. Adrianza sprinted home to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. Cano had just one error in his first 49 games of the season.
“It took a little hop, but I should make that play,” Cano said. “I’ve made that play before. It’s part of the game. The throw, I wouldn’t say I rushed it, I just got under it. I’m not perfect. You’re going to make mistakes.”
Buxton robbery: The Mariners scored once off Gibson in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 2-1, and they were threatening with runners on first and third when Cano laced a 106 mph line drive to straightaway center that had extra bases written all over it. But Byron Buxton had other ideas, making a leaping grab at the last second to deny Cano, who has had several tough-luck outs of late. This line drive had a normal 72 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. More >
“He’s a special athlete,” Servais said. “He’s as good as it gets in our game, how he runs and can run balls down. As fast as [Jarrod] Dyson is in the outfield, Buxton’s strides are probably more like what Junior looked like running around here a few years ago. He’s a special athlete and he made a great catch. It does happen in this game.”
“He’s pretty good out there,” said Gibson, while also tipping his cap to defensive plays made by Miguel Sano and Mauer. “I’m a guy that’s going to put the ball in play a lot and they were really good tonight.”
“I just made the one mistake to Castro. Right pitch, wrong location. Got it down and in where he likes it and he did some damage.” — Bergman on his lone earned run allowed
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dyson flashed his speed — again — when he turned on the afterburners on a leadoff triple in the fifth. Dyson’s home-to-third time of 10.97 seconds, per Statcast™, was the fourth-fastest in MLB this season. Dyson wound up scoring Seattle’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Ben Gamel.
Twins: The Twins begin a three-game Interleague series with the Giants in San Francisco at 9:15 p.m. CT on Friday. The Giants are the only team that the Twins’ Friday starter, Ervin Santana (7-3, 2.44 ERA), hasn’t faced in his 13-year career.
Mariners: Rookie right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1, 3.13 ERA) makes his fifth start in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. PT series opener against the Blue Jays at Safeco Field. The 27-year-old faced Toronto in his MLB debut on May 11 at Rogers Centre in a two-inning relief outing, allowing two hits — including a home run — while striking out four.
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@GregJohnsMLB.Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Twins on Thursday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.