SEATTLE - The Minnesota Twins finally got a reprieve Saturday afternoon, when they finally didn't have to face an All-Star starting pitcher.
At times during a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, it looked like the Twins had one of their own in Samuel Deduno.
The 30-year-old righthander pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits, while the Twins' offense did most of its damage against the Seattle bullpen. Brian Dozier and Justin Morneau each hit solo home runs in the seventh inning to help Minnesota (45-56) pull away and improve to 6-3 since the All-Star break.
Deduno (7-4) struck out six while holding an opponent scoreless for the second time in his 12 starts this season. Seattle ended up with six hits while being shut out for the first time since June 19.
Mariners starter Aaron Harang marked the first non-All-Star to start against the Twins in four games. The Angels' Jared Weaver and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez silenced the Minnesota bats on consecutive days - Minnesota scored just one run off the three starting pitchers -- and Harang was pretty effective himself while allowing just three hits and one run over five innings of work.
But Harang (5-9) struggled to throw first-pitch strikes and labored through at-bats. He ended up throwing 107 pitches through the fifth inning, after which he gave way to the bullpen.
The only run the Twins managed off Harang came when Morneau led off the fourth inning with a double and later scored on a Clete Thomas groundout.
The Seattle bullpen didn't provide much relief, recording the first two outs of the sixth before allowing four consecutive batters to reach base. After a Chris Colabello single, Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush walked back-to-back batters and was pulled in favor of Yoervis Medina, who then issued a bases-loaded walk to Aaron Hicks to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.
Dozier led off the seventh with a home run, then Morneau added a solo shot of his own two batters later. It was Morneau's eighth home run of the season and his first since July 8.
The closest the Mariners came to scoring on Deduno was in the seventh inning, when Seattle's Justin Smoak drilled a towering shot down the rightfield line with a runner on base -- only to see the ball sail inches outside the foul pole. Smoak eventually walked, and the Twins got a double play to get Deduno out of that inning.
NOTES: The Mariners optioned RHP Hector Noesi to Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday and recalled RHP Brandon Maurer. Noesi had a 5.65 ERA in nine games, mostly as a long reliever, for Seattle this season. Maurer has been a starter his entire career but will likely serve as a long reliever out of the Mariners' bullpen. ... C Humberto Quintero made his Mariners debut Saturday, when he was behind the plate to give 41-year old Henry Blanco a break after playing 13 innings the previous night. Quintero was signed by the Mariners on Friday, when the team placed C Mike Zunino (broken hand) on the 15-day disabled list. ... The win was Minnesota's first in a nine-inning game since the Twins beat the Angels 4-3 on Monday. ... Friday night marked the 52nd time in his careet that Seattle starter Felix Hernandez has pitched eight or more innings while giving up one run or fewer. He now has 11 no-decisions and two losses over those 52 starts.