If the Mariners fail to reach the postseason, they will long rue their lame effort against Minnesota starter Tyler Duffy Saturday night at Target Center in Minneapolis. Duffy entered with an 0-3 record and 11.15 ERA in his previous four starts, but Seattle could do little more than Nelson Cruz’s 493-foot home run in a 3-2 loss (box).
Duffy held the Mariners to two runs on four hits over seven innings. Minnesota scored a pair of runs early on a Jorge Polanco homer in the first and Logan Schafer’s RBI ground ball in the second. The Twins tallied what proved to be the winning run in the fourth on Miguel Sano’s solo homer.
That prevented Seattle, which has scored two or fewer runs in six of its past eight games, from making up ground in the AL wild card race. In fact, the Mariners lost a half a game.
The Mariners, who fell to 81-73, blew a chance to make up ground when Kansas City defeated Detroit (83-71). Baltimore’s 3-0 win over the Yankees places the Mariners 2.5 games behind the Orioles for the second wild card with eight games remaining. WC standings:
Trailing 3-2 in the ninth, the Mariners opened with a Robinson Cano single and then caught a huge break when 3B Sano booted an easy double-play grounder from Cruz, placing runners on first and second with no outs. But Kyle Seager banged into a double play and Adam Lind flew out to left, ending Seattle’s seven-game road winning streak.
Cruz’s fourth-inning home run, his 39th of the season (and 98th RBI), traveled 493 feet according to Statcast, the second-longest homer of the MLB season behind Giancarlo Stanton’s 504-foot blast for Miami . . . The Mariners scratched out five hits, including two by Cano as an encore to his four-hit effort Friday night. Cano hiked his average to .297 . . . The Mariners used three consecutive pinch hitters — Shawn O’Malley, Franklin Gutierrez and Dae-Ho Lee — in the eighth inning. All struck out . . . The Mariners went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded four.
Bidding to become the first Seattle starter to go 5-0 in a calendar month since Jason Vargas in July of 2012, Ariel Miranda lasted four innings and 52 pitches. He allowed three runs on four hits without a strikeout and fell to 5-2, 4.30 . . . Drew Storen, Evan Scribner and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for four innings of scoreless relief and did not allow a hit.
“We certainly needed to score more than two runs. (Ariel) Miranda was not real sharp tonight and just didn’t quite have it. We couldn’t get it going offensively other than Nellie’s big home run. That went about as far as you can hit it. He killed it. We had a chance there in the ninth, but just couldn’t get it done.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
The Mariners, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, lost for the first time in eight road games . . . The Mariners are 2-4 vs. the Twins this season, 15-18 against the AL Central, 39-38 on the road and 24-18-8 in overall series.
The three-game set concludes Sunday at 11:10 a.m., PT. RHP Taijuan Walker (6-11, 4.32) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Hector Santiago (12-9, 4.82). Santiago went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Mariners this season with the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners play their final road series starting Monday night at Houston (5:10 p.m., PT).