SEATTLE — Viral video star C.J. Cron and Byron Buxton fueled a seven-run fourth inning with homers, and Michael Pineda pitched the Minnesota Twins past the Seattle Mariners 11-6 on Thursday night.
The Twins hit four home runs to extend their streak to 11 straight games with a long ball and made Seattle pay for a pair of sloppy errors to win their third in a row and eighth in the last 11 games.
Leading 2-1 after solo home runs from Jason Castro and Max Kepler in the third inning against starter Erik Swanson (1-5), Minnesota sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth.
Cron, who went 4-for-5 a day after an embarrassing error turned into a popular lowlight online, made it 4-1 with a mammoth two-run homer deep into the second deck in left field. Marwin Gonzalez followed with a single and Miguel Sano’s double put runners at second and third.
Castro then grounded to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion behind the bag. Instead of stepping on the base, Encarnacion made a quick, flat-footed throw home trying to get Gonzalez, but was off the mark and the error made it 5-1.
Buxton followed with a three-run homer to left for an 8-1 margin, ending Swanson’s night after he gave up nine hits in three-plus innings.
Parker Markel hit Kepler with a pitch, then gave up a single to Jorge Polanco before the Mariners finally got the first out of the inning by nabbing Polanco as he tried to turn a poor relay throw from the outfield into another base.
Markel struck out Jonathan Schoop for the second out and should have been out of the inning when Cron hit a soft fly to center field. But Mallex Smith, recalled Thursday from Triple-A Tacoma, dropped the ball for Seattle’s league-leading 49th error and Kepler added another run to make it 9-1.
Pineda (3-3) didn’t need any additional help in his return to Seattle. Though he was hit hard at times, the former Mariners right-hander struck out six with no walks over seven innings. He scattered five hits, gave up three runs and largely kept the Mariners handcuffed to end their modest two-game win streak.
All of Seattle’s runs came on homers. Smith hit a solo shot in the second, and Ryon Healy and J.P. Crawford connected for back-to-back solo drives in the fifth. It was the first home run with the Mariners for Crawford, one of the team’s top prospects.
Daniel Vogelbach added a three-run homer in the eighth off reliever Tyler Duffey. The Mariners have scored 131 of their 246 runs, 53-percent, on their league-leading 87 home runs.