SEATTLE - After totalling two runs in the first two games of their series in Seattle, the Twins were eager to score as many as possible Wednesday night. So even after putting up eight in the first four innings, Minnesota players were clamouring for more.
"We had guys screaming in the dugout, 'It's not illegal to score 10 runs!'" manager Ron Gardenhire said after an 8-1 victory over the Mariners. "We didn't get 10, but we scored some runs tonight, which takes some pressure off the pitchers. We need to do that more often."
Kendrys Morales knocked in three and Chris Colabello hit a two-run double to back Kyle Gibson's six shutout innings. It was the third time since June 14 that the Twins scored at least eight runs — the second time they did it in a win.
Brian Dozier scored twice for the Twins, who teed off against an ineffective Roenis Elias (7-8). The rookie lasted a career-low 3 1-3 innings, yielding seven runs — six earned — and seven hits with three walks.
The beneficiary of all that early offence was Gibson (8-7), who admittedly pitched without much fastball command. As a result, the right-hander gave up seven hits and a walk, allowing multiple baserunners in three innings. But thanks to sharp off-speed pitches, he was able to rebound from a rough outing against the Yankees.
It was the seventh time this season that Gibson did not permit a run.
"With my fastball command being what it was, it's a good thing the defence was playing good, and the off-speed was really good tonight for me," he said.
Caleb Thielbar, Jared Burton and Matt Guerrier finished up for Gibson, who gave up six runs (five earned) and six hits in two innings of a 6-5 loss to New York last Friday.
Robinson Cano drove in Seattle's run in the seventh with a double down the left-field line that scored Brad Miller.
The Mariners had 12 hits but stranded 12 and went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Seattle entered hitless in its last 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Part of the struggles Wednesday could be attributed to the stellar defence played by the Twins, including several highlight-reel stops by Dozier at second base.
"It seemed like he was everywhere out there today," Seattle's Kyle Seager said. "He got balls we thought would get through."
With the Mariners planning to use a reliever to start Thursday's game, manager Lloyd McClendon had little choice but to let Elias attempt to pitch out of his own mess in the second. Instead, the first five Twins reached base safely.
By the time Eduardo Nunez popped out, Colabello had already driven in a pair with a double, and Sam Fuld had an RBI single. Morales added another run with a sacrifice fly before Elias got out of the inning.
Due in part to a two-run error by first baseman Logan Morrison, Elias wasn't able to escape the fourth, forcing the Mariners to rely on three relievers to close out the game.
"One thing we forget with young players, and pitchers in particular — this game can be really cruel sometimes," McClendon said. "One thing I told (Elias) tonight is, we'll get through these growing pains. We'll be there every step of the way. But it was a tough night for him in a lot of different ways. He'll bounce back."
NOTES: Minnesota RHP Kris Johnson will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Friday in Colorado. Gardenhire said the team will announce a corresponding move Thursday night or Friday morning. ... Gardenhire said SS Danny Santana (bone bruise in his left knee) will not join the team before the All-Star break and will go on a rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list. ... The Mariners plan on optioning reliever Stephen Pryor to Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday and recalling LHP Lucas Luetge to add a fresh arm to the bullpen. ... The Mariners have reset their weekend rotation after RHP Taijuan Walker was sent to Triple-A Tacoma. RHP Felix Hernandez will start Friday against AL West-leading Oakland and will be followed by RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and RHP Chris Young. ... RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, normally a reliever, will start Thursday's series finale against Twins RHP Yohan Pino.
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