Mariners get Clutch Hits from Kelenic and Suárez in win over Twins
SEATTLE (AP) — Frustrated and shut down by All-Star Sonny Gray for the first four innings, the Seattle Mariners changed their approach to solve one of the top pitchers in the American League.
Jarred Kelenic’s two-run single capped Seattle’s big fifth inning against Gray, and Eugenio Suárez added a two-run homer in the seventh as the Mariners beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 on Monday night.
The Mariners overcame a shaky first few innings on the mound from Logan Gilbert to hand Gray his second straight loss and snap the Twins' three-game win streak coming out of the All-Star break.
“I thought the quality of at-bat got better as the game went on,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It didn’t start off so good and Sonny Gray is really good. But after we made a few adjustments, understanding that you’re not going to hit the long ball off Sonny Gray. You've got to take your singles, work your walks and we were able to do that and put a big inning together.”
Minnesota made it interesting in the ninth when Max Kepler hit a three-run homer with two outs off reliever Ty Adcock to pull within 7-6. Seattle closer Paul Sewald entered and struck out Ryan Jeffers for his 19th save.
Gray cruised through four innings but fell apart in the fifth as Seattle sent nine batters to the plate and scored four times. Tesocar Hernández started the rally with a one-out double, Jose Caballero had an RBI single on a two-strike pitch and Julio Rodríguez laid off several borderline pitches to draw a walk with the bases loaded that tied the game at 2-all.
Kelenic followed by fighting off an inside fastball and dropping it into shallow left field to score a pair and break the tie.
“I was just trying to stay middle, the other way," Kelenic said. “I wasn’t trying to hit a grand slam there. It wasn’t necessary. I was just trying to put the ball in play and like you said, it wasn’t crushed by any means, but it got the job done.”
Gray (4-4) wasn’t able to get through the sixth and his outing ended after a wild pitch that allowed Cal Raleigh to score from third. Gray allowed five runs, five hits, walked four and struck out five. In his last start before the break, he was knocked around for six runs by Baltimore.
“He didn't have the feel for those breaking balls that he usually has and that's what I think led to what we watched in the last couple of innings,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Suárez hit his 12th homer with two outs in the seventh off reliever Oliver Ortega after Kelenic’s single kept the inning going.
Gilbert (8-5) was the AL player of the week prior to the All-Star Game after two terrific starts, including a five-hit shutout of San Francisco and seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros.
But the sharpness from those two stars wasn’t there against the Twins. Gilbert labored hard to get through three innings on 71 pitches, throwing 26 in the first. Consecutive doubles from Michael A. Taylor and Carlos Correa, and Alex Kirilloff’s sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Gilbert settled down to get through the fifth with no more damage. He struck out five and walked one.
“I felt a little out of sync not making pitches consistently,” Gilbert said. “Sometimes I’d make a good pitch. Sometimes it'd get away from me a little bit, where I feel like the last few weeks I’ve kind of been in a good place with that.”
Joey Gallo hit his 17th homer in the sixth off Mariners reliever Gabe Speier.
Kepler tried to get a rally going for Minnesota in the fourth in slightly unconventional fashion. He lined a shot to right field for what should have been an easy double. But he appeared to trip over his bat leaving the batters' box, tumbled to the ground and had to hustle to get into second base with a headfirst slide.
Twins: RHP Bailey Ober (5-4, 2.61 ERA) has pitched at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer in his past five starts. In his last two, Ober has allowed one earned run in 13 innings with 13 strikeouts.
Mariners: Rookie RHP Bryan Woo (1-1, 3.63) makes his first start after the All-Star break. Woo threw six innings in each of his final two starts before the break and allowed a total of three earned runs.