Mariners 4, Twins 3

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SEATTLE (AP)—Willie Bloomquist had a nasty-looking cut over the bridge of his nose after using his head to score the winning run.

Pinch-running, Bloomquist stole third base and scored on catcher Henry Blanco’s throwing error with one out in the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

“I don’t know what hit me. I don’t really remember. It was like I hit a wall on the side of my face,” Bloomquist said.

Blanco’s throw appeared to ricochet off Bloomquist’s helmet toward the Twins’ third-base dugout. Sliding headfirst, Bloomquist collided with third baseman Corey Koskie, who fell over in pain.

“Koskie is probably able to catch the ball, but it hit him (Bloomquist) in the helmet,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s what it sounded like to me. Everything was arriving about the same time. We had a shot to throw him out, but it was a very aggressive play by the kid.”

Bloomquist then got up and scored without a play at home plate. He grabbed his head, seemingly in pain, after crossing the plate.

Bloomquist was running for Scott Spiezio, who got aboard on an infield single with one out. He then advanced to second on Juan Rincon’s throwing error.

Koskie sprained his left wrist on the play. X-rays were negative.

Bloomquist was still trying to gather his thoughts in the Mariners’ locker room after he scored the winning run.

“I kind of went black for a quick second,” he said. “I figured it was the ball that hit me and assumed it kind of kicked off somewhere. I picked my head up and saw it going over toward the dugout.”

Koskie said he broke late to cover the bag because he didn’t want Justin Leone, the hitter, to hit a ball past him into the outfield.

“I was a little bit late making sure the ball went through the zone,” he said. “Henry threw the ball right there. It hit him in the helmet or it hit my wrist or something hit it. That’s all I saw.”

Manager Bob Melvin likes to use Bloomquist as a pinch-runner.

“He’s not afraid to do some things out there,” he said. “They’re aware of him over at first base, that he might run.”

Melvin has used the versatile former Arizona State player who is in his second season with the Mariners, in the outfield and the outfield.

“He hasn’t gotten the opportunity that he would like to get, but, boy I’ll tell you what, he can plug a lot of holes for you, do a lot of things and play a lot of positions,” Melvin said. “That almost works against him sometimes.”

George Sherrill (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to get the victory while Rincon (9-5) was the loser.

The Twins lost their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games to have their lead in the AL Central over Cleveland cut to three games.

The last-place Mariners have won four of five from the Twins in Seattle this season.

The Twins tied it at 3 in the sixth on a single by Koskie and Michael Cuddyer’s double.

Randy Winn singled in two runs in the fifth to put the Mariners ahead 3-2. Spiezio walked, Jose Lopez singled him to third and Lopez went to second on a wild pitch.

The Mariners scored their first run in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Bret Boone and Raul Ibanez.

The Twins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Justin Morneau and a run-scoring double by Jacque Jones.

Brad Radke started for the Twins and pitched six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, two walks and a wild pitch, with four strikeouts.

Mariners starter Bobby Madritsch gave up three runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings, striking out six.

Madritsch made his second major league start. Before the game, the umpiring crew huddled on the field briefly to talk about the tattoos on Madritsch’s forearms.

“He (crew chief Tim McClelland) told me to put sleeves on,” Madritsch said. “He let me go the first inning, but told me to put sleeves on after that. I didn’t see a problem with them … it may be just because I’m a rookie or something.”

He said it was the first time umpires in his pro career had made him do that.

Melvin said the Twins didn’t complain about Madritsch, but the umpires did it on their own. ^Notes: Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-4 to break the major league record for most hits in his first four seasons at 841. Hall of Famer Paul “Big Poison” Waner set the record of 840 when he played with Pittsburgh from 1926-29. … Boone matched his career-high 15-game hitting streak that he accomplished in 2003. … Radke still hasn’t won a game at Safeco Field, the only current AL park he hasn’t won at.

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