Mauer's power, hustle leads Twins past M's 7-6
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)-- Joe Mauer homered and scored three times, sliding home in the ninth inning on Brian Buscher's sacrifice fly to lead the Minnesota Twins over the Seattle Mariners 7-6 Saturday.
The win kept the Twins tied with Chicago for the AL Central lead.
Ichiro Suzuki's two-run single capped a six-run rally in the sixth that put the Mariners ahead 6-5. Jason Kubel's pinch-hit single off Cesar Jimenez (0-2) tied it in the eighth.
Twins reliever Craig Breslow worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings, and Dennys Reyes (3-0) pitched a perfect ninth.
Mauer started the ninth against Jimenez with a single off diving third baseman Adrian Beltre's glove, and Justin Morneau followed with a single.
Miguel Batista relieved, and Delmon Young dropped down his first career sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitter Mike Lamb was intentionally walked, and Buscher was next with a short fly to left field. Jeremy Reed's throw was way off-line, and Mauer scored easily.
Twins starter Scott Baker had a 5-0 lead after five innings, but it wasn't a breeze. The Mariners helped him out by grounding into three double plays.
After a single and a walk to start the sixth, Beltre doubled in the first run. Jeff Clement's slow-rolling single up the middle with one out scored two more.
Reliever Jesse Crain walked Brian LaHair with two outs and gave up an RBI double to Yuniesky Betancourt. Breslow came in, and Suzuki slapped his opposite-field single to left for Seattle's first lead.
Mauer muscled his eighth homer to the opposite field in the first inning and drove in another run with a single in the second. Young and Randy Ruiz also hit RBI singles, and Morneau drove in a run with a double over the first two inning against Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Despite an opening day payroll of nearly $118 million, the Mariners have been playing for next year for months amid firings, clubhouse dissension and general dysfunction. Recalled last week from a stint in Triple-A, Rowland-Smith had mixed results in his second audition for the 2009 rotation.
The 25-year-old goggle-wearing Australian gave up 10 hits and two walks in five innings, throwing 89 pitches and striking out one.
Notes:@ Raul Ibanez was Seattle's DH to save his lower body from the artificial turf, not because of defense. "He played a heck of a game in left field yesterday," interim manager Jim Riggleman said before the game. "He's played a good left field all year. He really has." ... Twins IF Matt Tolbert, who had just become the regular SS when he tore a ligament in his left thumb diving into first base on May 15, is taking live batting practice and fielding grounders at the team's minor league complex in Florida. He could be back in a few weeks. ... This was Minnesota's 17th straight crowd of 30,000 or more, the longest such streak since a team-record 26 in a row in the summer of 1988.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
Catcher Gregg Zaun retires after 16 seasons
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