Poor pitching and a slumbering offense once again plague Twins in loss
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SEATTLE -- The starting pitching isn't getting any better, and the Minnesota Twins offense keeps getting shut down.
On Sunday it was rookie slugger Jesus Montero who lined a two-run double in the first inning off Nick Blackburn to get Seattle on the board. Mike Carp later added his first homer of the season and the Mariners cruised to a 5-2 win, dropping the Twins to 7-20 on the season.
Seattle starter Hector Noesi took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up a solo home run to Ryan Doumit. Despite the homer, Noesi (2-3) allowed just four hits and struck out five. Doumit hit another solo shot in the ninth off reliever Tom Wilhelmsen.
Seattle won its second straight after snapping a seven-game losing streak on Saturday night. The Twins now head home having dropped 11 of 13.
Blackburn (0-4) made it through six innings, but was battered early and remained winless in five starts this season.
Left-handed batters came in hitting .407 against Blackburn this year and a Mariners lineup full of lefties did its part. But it was Montero, a right-hander and the centerpiece of Seattle's big offseason trade with the Yankees, who got it going early. His two-run double just inside the bag at third in the first was followed by Kyle Seager's long line-drive single off the wall in right that scored Montero.
Carp then opened the second with a solo shot deep into the seats in right field. It was just his third hit since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week after he missed nearly a month with a shoulder sprain suffered during the Mariners' season-opening series in Japan.
Seattle went ahead 5-0 in the fourth when Dustin Ackley lined a triple into the left-center field gap, then scored on Brendan Ryan's sacrifice foul out down the right-field line.
While Montero was the focus of the trade with the Yankees, Noesi was a piece the Mariners were equally excited about. His potential was on display in early April when Noesi threw eight shutout innings against Oakland. But in his three starts since, Noesi was 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA.
Facing the Twins' meek offense certainly helped. Noesi gave up singles in the first, third and fourth innings and didn't allow a baserunner past second until Doumit's second homer of the season in the seventh. Doumit made it his fifth career multi-homer game when he lined a solo shot in the ninth.
That was it for a Minnesota offense that took its place in baseball history this week. Before Sunday's game, the nine hits in the previous four games by Minnesota - including a no-hitter by the Angels Jered Weaver and a combined one-hitter courtesy mostly of Felix Hernandez on Saturday night - were the fewest hits in a four-game span since 1900, according to statistics provided by the Twins from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Minnesota had been shut out in three of its previous four games for the first time since 1996 and was on the verge of yet another shutout until Doumit's homer leading off the seventh inning.
• Justin Morneau (wrist) will be placed on the disabled list prior to Monday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
• C Joe Mauer was back behind the plate for the first time since taking a foul tip off the inside of his knee and spending most of the past week as a designated hitter.
• Monday: vs. Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m. Twins LHP Francisco Liriano (0-4, 9.97) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (4-0, 1.61).
• Tuesday: vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Twins RHP Liam Hendriks (0-2, 9.00) vs. TBD.