MINNEAPOLIS – The Mariners had plenty of chances to put away the Minnesota Twins early and let starter Jarrod Washburn relax a little on Tuesday night.
Although Seattle waited until the eighth inning to score most of their runs, the veteran left-hander wasn’t complaining.
Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson hit consecutive home runs, Washburn won for the first time in seven starts and the wild card-leading Seattle Mariners extended their winning streak to five by beating the Minnesota Twins 7-2.
Washburn snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time since July 4.
“When it starts getting attention from other places than my head, you know it’s been too long,” Washburn said. “When you guys start writing about how long it’s been since I won it becomes an issue. Obviously you’d like to get that out of the way.”
Jose Vidro finished 3-for-5 and the Mariners pounded out 18 hits. Every Mariners starter except Kenji Johjima had a hit by the sixth. Johjima got on the board with a single in the seventh.
Seattle came into the game trailing Los Angeles by two games in the AL West.
Washburn (9-10) yielded two runs and five hits through six innings and made up for his team stranding at least one runner in each of the first seven innings and managing just three runs.
“We were lucky that Washburn did a great job,” Vidro said. “We missed a lot of opportunities and we were just hoping it wouldn’t haunt us at the end.”
Leading 3-2, the Mariners broke the game open with four runs in the eighth. Beltre sparked the rally with a run-scoring double off Pat Neshek, and two batters later Johjima added an RBI single.
Seattle hit four home runs off Matt Garza on Monday night and wasted little time before hitting some more.
The Mariners opened up a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Beltre and Sexson’s back-to-back home runs. It was Beltre’s 20th homer and Sexson’s 21st and the second time Seattle has gone back-to-back this season.
The two solo blasts were the only runs the Mariners could muster through the first five innings despite 10 hits. Scott Baker (6-6) pitched around a pair of leadoff singles in the third and coaxed a double play from Johjima with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
Vidro’s two-out double in the sixth scored Ichiro Suzuki from first base to make it 3-0.
“We should’ve had five or six but we let a couple opportunities slip by,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “But we’re really hitting the ball well up and down the lineup.”
Baker allowed three runs and 14 hits in 6 2-3 innings. He entered Tuesday allowing one run or fewer in three of his last four starts.
Minnesota’s only offense came in the sixth on a two-run single with the bases loaded by Michael Cuddyer.
“Another frustrating baseball game for us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We got behind early but Baker battled.”
Minnesota (62-63) entered Tuesday with the American League’s worst batting average in August (.252) and has managed only 54 runs and six homers, both last in the majors.
The inept offense is the main reason the Twins have failed to gain significant ground on division-leading Cleveland despite entering Tuesday with a 3.70 team ERA during August.
Seattle (71-52) is now a season-high 19 games over .500 and 17-6 since losing seven straight from July 20-26. The Mariners have hit 28 home runs in August.
Jose Guillen, Sexson and Johjima each had two hits and Suzuki had three for Seattle.
Casilla and Cuddyer had two hits each for Minnesota.
“We felt like we had a chance to win and couldn’t pull it out,” Cuddyer said.