Garza strong as Minnesota snaps 5-game losing streak in 11-3 win over Seattle
SEATTLE (AP)—As he walked toward the mound to start the eighth inning Tuesday night, Matt Garza let himself think ahead, if only briefly.
With a low pitch count and a comfortable lead, Garza started believing his first career complete game was obtainable.
“I was thinking ‘I could get this,’ but I sealed my own fate thinking that way,” Garza said.
Garza didn’t even last the eighth. Instead of a complete game, Garza had to settle for his first win in over a month, and helping the Twins snap their five-game losing streak with an 11-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“Lesson learned,” Garza said.
Garza was backed by a Minnesota offense that scored 11 runs for the second time this month. Of course, those are the only two times in August the Twins have scored more than three runs in a game.
Nevertheless, the Twins were happy to be enjoying just their second win in the last nine games.
“It’s been a long time since we shook hands,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Jason Bartlett hit the first pitch of the fifth inning for his fourth homer of the season, sparking a three-run inning that gave Garza a cushion and sent Seattle starter Horacio Ramirez to his first loss at home this season.
The Mariners lost for just the second time in their last eight games, but didn’t lose any ground to the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West or the New York Yankees in the wild card, as both teams lost.
“There’s not really much to say … I’m not too happy,” Mariners manager John McLaren said.
Minnesota would like to join the wild card race. More outings like Tuesday night from Garza could help.
The latest in a string of talented young arms in the Twins’ system, Garza (2-3) won for the first time since July 6 against the Chicago White Sox. He gave up three runs and nine hits and was helped with three inning-ending double plays.
He took the mound for the eighth intent on finishing out the Mariners. Three consecutive hits to start the inning scuttled those hopes.
“Hopefully this turns a corner and stuff starts going for us,” Garza said.
Ramirez, who was awful on the road with a 1-3 record and 13.50 ERA, was finally exposed at home, and by an unlikely opponent in the Twins and their scuffling offense.
Ramirez (7-4) struggled with his command, walking three batters and leaving hittable pitches up and over the middle of the plate. He allowed nine hits and six runs in five innings. In his last three starts—two at home—Ramirez has allowed 24 hits and 17 earned runs in only 14 innings.
“I’m trying to figure things out and right now I’m not doing a good job of it,” Ramirez said. “One thing I like to be is consistent, but I am pretty far from that right now.”
After Bartlett’s homer, Rondell White capped the fifth with a bloop double into shallow right field that scored two runs. Mike Redmond and Alexi Casilla had RBI singles in the second for the Twins and Michael Cuddyer drove in a run in the third with a two-out double.
“We haven’t been very lucky. We haven’t made our own lucky, but things haven’t exactly fallen in for us,” Gardenhire said.
Cuddyer, who along with Justin Morneau took early batting practice on Tuesday, was hitting just .098 over his last nine games. The extra work paid off for both players. Cuddyer finished with two hits and Morneau added a two-run single in the seventh off Seattle reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith. It was Morneau’s first RBIs this month, and he finished with two hits as well. Torii Hunter added two singles and doubled off the left field wall in the seventh.
“We don’t go anywhere without those guys in the middle driving in runs,” Gardenhire said. “They’re the guys that make us click.”
Jose Vidro had two RBI singles for Seattle.
Seattle’s streak of seven straight games with a home run was snapped. The Mariners have homered in nine of the last 11 games. … The Twins scored 11 runs last Wednesday against Kansas City, the only other time this month they scored more than three runs. … 3B Nick Punto was the only Minnesota player not to get a hit.