M’s make it 6 in a row

  • Associated Press
  • Monday, May 23, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Luis Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and the Seattle Mariners rallied to win their sixth straight game, beating Jim Thome and the Minnesota Twins 8-7 on Monday night.

Carlos Peguero’s single in the ninth scored pinch-runner Michael Saunders with the tying run, helping the Mariners overcome Thome’s powerful return to the lineup.

In his first game off the disabled list, Thome homered twice — including a 465-foot shot that bounced high in the air after landing on the Target Field pavilion in the fourth inning.

He also hit a line drive that had just enough height to clear the wall in left field in the seventh.

The slugger took a curtain call after his second homer, and the Twins held a 7-4 lead. But once again, the bullpen couldn’t hold on.

Jack Wilson led off the 10th with a single against reliever Anthony Swarzak (0-2) and scored on Rodriguez’s fly to center.

Brandon League pitched a perfect inning for his 11th save in 14 chances.

Jamey Wright (1-1) worked around two walks in the ninth to earn the win. He got Jason Repko to ground out with a runner on second to send the game to extra innings.

Jack Cust homered for the Mariners, his first in 40 games. That was the longest drought of his career.

Denard Span also went deep for the Twins.

After Carl Pavano recovered from a rocky start to retire the final eight batters he faced, Joe Nathan allowed two runs in the eighth and only recorded one out before being relieved by Matt Capps.

Capps escaped the eighth, but Peguero lined a two-out single to center in the ninth to score Saunders from second and tie it at 7.

Capps had a chance to catch Saunders too far off second base on a comebacker to the mound with one out, but failed to make the throw.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire removed his hat in disgust in the dugout, something he has done often as his team continues to make uncharacteristic mental mistakes.

Seattle and Minnesota are the two weakest hitting teams in the American League, but combined for 15 runs and 25 hits on Monday.

It was the first time in eight games that the Mariners allowed more than two runs and the first time in nine games that a Seattle starter failed to pitch at least seven innings.

Jason Vargas allowed five runs in 4 2-3 innings and was chased after Delmon Young’s single gave the Twins a 5-4 lead.

Vargas was 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last four starts before Monday.

NOTES: The entire Twins team circled around a large No. 3 behind second base to honor Harmon Killebrew during a pregame ceremony. The Twins will hold a public memorial service for Killebrew at 7 p.m. at Target Field on Thursday. … Seattle does not have a player hitting above .300 in its starting lineup. … An MRI exam on Twins RHP Kevin Slowey’s oblique did not reveal any damage, but he wasn’t available. Slowey might be sent to Triple-A Rochester or traded so he can again become a starter. … Minnesota C Joe Mauer and 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka are rehabbing in Florida and could see game action later this week.

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