The Minnesota Twins needed to rally for both of their wins to open the 2009 season.
Looking for a third straight victory since dropping their season opener, the Twins hope for an easier time Thursday while trying to win their four-game series with the Seattle Mariners at the Metrodome.
Jason Kubel’s run-scoring double in the fifth inning gave Minnesota the lead for good in a 6-5 win over Seattle on Wednesday. It came one night after the Twins (2-1) scored three times with two outs in the bottom of ninth to win by the same score.
Justin Morneau homered and drove in three runs while Denard Span added a two-run home run for Minnesota, which has 21 hits in its last two games after mustering only six in a 6-1 loss to the Mariners (1-2) on Monday.
Joe Nathan earned his first save of the season and 200th with the Twins on Wednesday.
“These are the games you turn to your bats,” said Twins starter Kevin Slowey, who survived a couple of rough stretches and completed six innings for the victory.
Span is 4-for-9 with four RBIs in the series and is batting .333 (16-for-48) with 12 RBIs in 12 career games against Seattle. Morneau recorded his first hit after going 0-for-8 in the previous two contests.
Morneau is hitting .344 (11-for-32) with two home runs and six RBIs in his last eight games against Seattle, but is 3-for-15 with three strikeouts against Mariners’ scheduled starter Jarrod Washburn.
Coming off the worst year of his previous 11 major league seasons, Washburn went 5-14 with a 4.75 ERA in 26 starts in 2008, but was also a victim of poor run support.
Based on the way the Mariners have hit to start 2009, Washburn could be in line for some decent support as long as they don’t revert back to their old form.
“What really gets to a pitcher, and the offensive guys too, is to have the bases loaded, nobody out and you don’t score,” Washburn told the Mariners’ official Web site. “It’s the same thing when a runner’s on third with nobody out and he doesn’t score. That seemed to happen a lot (last season).”
Entering the final season of a four-year contract, the left-hander is 6-6 with a 3.53 ERA in 15 starts against Minnesota.
The Twins counter with Glen Perkins, who looks to build off a successful first season as a starter.
After making 23 combined appearances out of the bullpen in his previous two seasons, Perkins went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 26 starts in 2008.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 6.05 ERA in three starts against Seattle.
Lopez is 3-for-9 with a home run and two RBIs against Perkins.
The Mariners received some good news Wednesday after learning star Ichiro Suzuki has been cleared to begin playing in his comeback from a bleeding ulcer that caused severe fatigue.
On the disabled list for the first time in his major league career, Ichiro is expected to be activated next Wednesday.