MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Gil Meche wasn’t quite at his best. Fortunately for him, he had plenty of help.
Meche pitched seven-plus innings and Seattle tied a season high with 18 hits as the Mariners beat Minnesota 10-6 on Thursday night.
Meche gave up three of the Twins’ four homers, but was sharp enough to improve to 7-2. Bret Boone homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs for Seattle.
In the opener of a four-game series between the division leaders, the Mariners won for the 10th time in 13 games. The Twins won 21 of their previous 27 games, including two of three last weekend in Seattle.
“For the outcomes that I’ve had, I’ll take that any day,” Meche said. “I didn’t have a whole lot of command of my fastball today, and it showed. They hit me pretty well today, but it just happened to be right at guys a lot of times, and I kind of got lucky.”
The Twins didn’t see it that way.
“Meche was tough,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We hit the ball often, but he’s got a great changeup, a good slider and curveball, and the ball jumps out of his hand.”
Boone’s two-run homer off Brad Radke (5-5) gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead in the fifth. The drive to left-center was his 14th home run of the season, and the 200th of his 13-year career.
“It’s a milestone, a stepping stone in your career,” Boone said.
He was more excited about his team’s defense, including the leaping grab he made at second base, a run-saving catch by left-fielder Randy Winn, and a double play started by Carlos Guillen in the ninth.
“They’re one of the best defenses in the league, and the way Meche was pitching, we needed some of those to fall in tonight,” Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “They didn’t, and they just got more hits and bigger hits than we did tonight.”
Radke, who allowed five runs and 11 hits in five innings, lost to the Mariners for the second time in a week. He also lost the opener of a weekend series May 23 at Seattle. He’s 5-10 with a 5.47 ERA against the Mariners.
“We didn’t pitch the ball very well tonight,” Gardenhire said. “Brad was just so-so. He was up in the zone a little bit.”
The Mariners scored just two batters into the game. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single and Guillen followed with a high fly to deep left-center. Left fielder Jones lost the ball in the roof and center fielder Hunter just missed making a tumbling catch as he scrambled to cover for Jones.
Suzuki scored from first and Guillen ended up with a double. He scored two batters later on Edgar Martinez’s single for a 2-0 lead. Martinez drove in two runs.
Jones made up for his miscue quickly, hitting Meche’s second pitch into the upper deck in right field for his fifth home run of the season and second in two games.
Mientkiewicz also hit his fifth homer and second in two games leading off the fifth, cutting Seattle’s lead to 5-2. Hunter led off the seventh with his eighth homer and Pierzynski drove in the final two runs with a two-run shot in the ninth off Shigetoshi Hasegawa, the first runs he allowed in his last 13appearances.
Radke had allowed only four stolen bases in his last 30 starts before Mike Cameron and Suzuki each stole second off him Thursday. … Twins rookie Lew Ford made his major league debut, replacing Hunter in center field in theeighth. He singled in his first at-bat leading off the ninth against Hasegawa.