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Updated: May 25th, 2011 3:27pm
Twins Daily: Putrid offense wastes bounce-back start by Brian Duensing

Twins Daily: Putrid offense wastes bounce-back start by Brian Duensing

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The lowest-scoring team in the majors hit another offensive wall on Wednesday afternoon, as the Minnesota Twins wasted seven quality innings from Brian Duensing in their fifth shutout loss of the season, 3-0 to the Seattle Mariners.

The skinny

Duensing threw 111 pitches (69 strikes) in seven innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, striking out six and walking three. But the Mariners (24-25) did some damage before the left-hander found his groove.

Adam Kennedy's RBI double in the bottom of the second inning put Seattle on the board, and Brendan Ryan singled home Kennedy to make it 2-0. Franklin Gutierrez capped the scoring in the fourth inning by driving an 0-1 pitch an estimated 385 feet into the left-field seats for his first home run of the season.

The Twins (16-32) had runners on base in each of the first five innings against left-hander Erik Bedard, who allowed six hits and struck out four in six innings, but they never had an extra-base hit and stranded seven.

"He doesn't miss his location very often, we've seen this young man for a long time," Gardenhire said of Bedard. "He's had a lot of injuries but when he's healthy like it looked like he was out there today (he threw) some pretty good pitches and his breaking ball was snapping as hard as anybody's we've seen this year."

Turning point

Danny Valencia's strikeout left runners on the corners in the fourth inning. But the Twins' best opportunity to turn around the game came in the fifth, when Drew Butera and Alexi Casilla singled to open the inning.

Denard Span's weak tap-out to the pitcher advanced the runners to second and third. Then, Matt Tolbert flew out to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose strong arm was enough to scare off Butera from trying to score from third, drawing boos from the crowd.

"It's one of those iffy ones," Gardenhire said. "You've got Drew Butera out there with Ichiro throwing the ball, a kind of into the wind throw, who knows, whatever, I would have liked to see him try it absolutely just because we're not scoring many runs and you've got Bedard out there and you've got to take a chance every once in a while."

Said Butera, "I've got respect for (Ichiro), because he's got such a great arm. It would have probably been close either way. It's hard to say which way it would have gone, but just thinking about the situation and how I could have done better, just better safe than sorry I guess."

Jason Kubel hit a lazy flyout to left field to end the inning, and the Twins had only one more hit -- Valencia's leadoff single in the seventh -- over the final four innings.

Numbers game

2: Hits by second baseman Alexi Casilla in the game. He finished 2-for-3 for the game and 4-for-6 for the series.

4: Twins baserunners left in scoring position with two outs. They left seven runners on base for the game.

7: Consecutive games with an extra-base hit for the Twins until Wednesday. It was the 10th game this season in which the Twins did not have an extra-base hit.

14½: Games the Twins remain out of first place in the American League Central, thanks to Cleveland's 14-2 loss against Boston.

Health watch

• C Joe Mauer (weakness/soreness) was no worse for wear, manager Ron Gardenhire said, after making three plate appearances as the designated hitter in an extended spring training game on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla. Per The News-Press, Mauer had three plate appearances in an extended spring training game on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 0-for-2, drew a walk and scored a run after reaching on an error. "All they told me was three at-bats, everything went great and his legs felt good," Gardenhire said. Mauer declined comment to reporters.

• LHP Jose Mijares (left elbow tenderness) completed a bullpen for a second consecutive day and could continue his rehabilitation in Florida as soon as Thursday. "Mijares is fine," Gardenhire said. "He's actually probably going to be heading down to Florida (on Thursday), too, and start throwing in games immediately. His bullpens were great, no problems."

• RHP Kevin Slowey was diagnosed on Wednesday morning with an abdominal strain and will be placed on the disabled list. The Twins are expected to recall RHP Jim Hoey in time for Friday's series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

• RHP Matt Capps is battling forearm soreness and wasn't available on Wednesday. Gardenhire indicated the team is just "backing off him" and the injury isn't believed to be significant.

• RF/2B Michael Cuddyer (hip tightness) was "feeling much better" on Wednesday morning, McWane said, but he was out of the starting lineup for a second straight day. "I don't think he's ready to play nine innings," Gardenhire said, "but off the bench to pinch hit and stuff like that, he said he's available if I need him, no problem."

Overheard

"Sure, we know he can, but why would I punish this young man because another guy can't do it? To me that's wrong. I like Duensing in the rotation. I like the kid, and I think it's unfair to punish Brian Duensing."

-- Gardenhire, on the idea of moving Duensing to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for Slowey

On deck

The Twins have the day off on Thursday. A memorial for late slugger Harmon Killebrew is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Target Field.

Coming up

• Friday: vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (2-3, 4.12) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-2, 4.06).
• Saturday: vs. Angels, 6:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-5, 5.73) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (6-4, 2.35).
• Sunday: vs. Angels, 1:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.28) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-3, 2.24).

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