Minnesota’s Sam Deduno, no stranger to mesmerizing the Mariners, turned their offense into a study in still life Saturday, holding Seattle to three hits through seven innings en route to a 4-0 victory at Safeco Field. After winning a season-high eight in a row, the Mariners have dropped three of four with their seven-game home stand coming to a close Sunday.
Deduno, who beat the Mariners 10-0 with nine strikeouts and two hits allowed the last time he saw them (Aug. 29, 2012), had an equal mastery of Seattle hitters Saturday. The Mariners touched him for Kendrys Morales’ double in the second and Brad Miller’s single in the third, and then did nothing until the seventh when Kyle Seager singled.
The Mariners mounted three significant scoring opportunities, one in the fourth, another in the seventh, a third in the eighth. The first two ended on double-play balls, by Justin Smoak and Endy Chavez, the third on a Raul Ibanez ground-ball out.
With the loss, the Mariners fell to 49-55, 14-8 in July and 6-3 since the All-Star break. They also suffered their seventh blanking of the season. The Mariners were trying to win their 50th game and also 15 games in a calendar month for the first time since last August, when they went 15-12.
Deduno left after throwing 110 pitches with barely a blemish on his effort. He struck out six and walked three, outdueling Seattle’s Aaron Harang, who had an effective start, allowing one run on three hits in 5.0 innings. But because Seattle couldn’t generate any offense, Harang was saddled with the loss, falling to 5-9, 4.89.
Harang held the Twins hitless until the fourth when Justin Morneau opened with a double and went to third on Chris Colabello’s single to center. Morneau scored on a Clete Thomas ground ball, giving Minnesota 1-0 lead.
Ibanez, who walked on four pitches, was in scoring position in their half of the fourth when Kyle Seager walked on a full count. The frame ended when Smoak banged into a double play.
Acting manager Robby Thompson lifted Harang and the Twins immediately loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth off reliever Charlie Furbush. Yoervis Medina came on and walked Aaron Hicks, giving Minnesota 2-0 edge. Medina averted further damage, fanning No. 9 hitter Doug Bernier.
But the Twins chased Medina in the seventh with a pair of long balls by Brian Dozier and Morneau for a 4-0 lead.
Seager singled in the seventh and Smoak walked on a full count, but Chavezjhit into a double play.
In the eighth, singles by Saunders and Brad Miller put two on and one out. But Nick Franklin struck out on what would have been ball four, a pitch up in the zone. Jared Burton then retired Ibanez on a ground ball.
Minnesota reliever Anthony Swarzak had a relatively easy ninth, allowing only a one-out single to Seager, and ended the game by getting Chavez to ground out.
Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 8.71) will work for Seattle in the series finale Sunday opposite RHP Kyle Gibson (2-2, 2.72). Seattle will take Monday off and begin a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday at Fenway Park. The road trip will continue with three games against Baltimore at Camden Yards.
NOTES: The Mariners Saturday recalled RHP Brandon Maurer from AAA Tacoma and optioned RHP Hector Noesi to the Rainiers. Maurer will be making his second appearance with the club after starting the season in the rotation. In 10 starts, he went 2-7, 6.93. In 10 starts in Tacoma since, he’s gone 3-4, 5.21. Noesi is 0-1, 5.64 in three stints with the Mariners . . . When Humberto Quintero started behind the plate Saturday, he became the Mariners’ seventh catcher this season. The list includes Jesus Montero (optioned) and Kelly Shoppach (designated), Jesus Sucre (injured), Henry Blanco (active), Mike Zunino (DL) and Brandon Bantz (optioned).