Not only did the patches fail to hold Tuesday for the Mariners; the wheels came off in absorbing a 20-6 payback thumping from the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Veteran right-hander Christian Bergman, generally solid through six previous starts, imploded after making a crucial mental error in a four-run second inning and failed to survive the third.
“My stuff wasn’t very good,” he said. “I was missing over the plate a lot, and pitches that I thought were good pitches also found holes. It was just one of those nights where it seemed they couldn’t hit it at someone if they tried.”
Long reliever Casey Lawrence, recalled Monday in the bullpen’s revolving carousel, had a pitched well in four previous hold-them outings. He had a chance to keep the Mariners in striking range against a shaky Kyle Gibson.
But Lawrence surrendered homers to the first two hitters he faced, which added three more runs and turned the climb from a hill into a mountain. The Mariners finished with six runs and 14 hits.
It wasn’t nearly enough.
The Twins set a franchise record with 28 hits, including five from Eduardo Escobar and four from Eddie Rosario, Jason Castro and Kennys Vargas. Rosario hit three homers and drove in five runs.
Rosario’s last homer came in the eighth inning against backup catcher Carlos Ruiz, who pitched for the first time in his career. Seven different Twins had two or more RBIs.
The 28 hits set a record for a Mariners opponent. The Red Sox had 26 on Aug. 15, 2015 in winning a 22-10 slugfest in Boston.
“Obviously, you don’t want this to happen,” catcher Mike Zunino said. “The close games are the tough ones, but every loss is a little bit hard to swallow.
“Hopefully, with this one, we can just kind of write it off and come back ready to pitch and play (on Wednesday)”
The Mariners thrashed the Twins 14-3 in Monday’s series opener and appeared headed toward a repeat when they jumped to a quick 3-0 lead against Gibson.
Ben Gamel opened the game with a double, went to third on Robinson Cano’s one-out single and scored on Nelson Cruz’s grounder to second. Cano scored on Kyle Seager’s double to left.
The Mariners made it 3-0 when Jarrod Dyson led off the second with a homer to right but missed a chance for a big inning by squandering a second-and-third opportunity with one out.
The game began to turn at that point.
Max Kepler opened the Minnesota second with a homer before singles by Vargas and Escobar put runners at first and second. Vargas moved to third on Jason Castro’s fly to deep center.
Then Bergman (3-4) made two mistakes. The first was inexplicable. After fielding Jorge Polanco’s hopper back to the mound, Bergman chose not to try for a double play but neither did he freeze Vargas at third.
Vargas chugged home with a gift run as Bergman threw to first for the out.
“I got it in my glove,” Bergman said, “and I was originally trying to go to second, trying to get the double play. I bobbled it a little bit. So then I was just trying to get an out.
“I knew (Vargas) was not a great runner at third, so I tried to get the out at first. By the time I heard someone saying something, it was already out of my hand.”
It quickly got worse.
Rosario crushed Bergman’s next pitch for a 410-foot homer to right. The Mariners, once up by three runs, now trailed 4-3, and had no idea how bad things were about to get.
Six straight singles against Bergman produced four more runs in the third inning before the Mariners finally went to the bullpen for Lawrence, whose first pitch resulted in another two-run homer by Rosario.
Lawrence then gave up a homer to Brian Dozier, and the Twins’ lead was 11-3. Minnesota pushed the calculator into record territory with a seven-run seventh inning against Lawrence and Marc Rzepczynski.
Gibson (4-4) pitched into the seventh inning before the Twins’ bullpen covered the final nine outs.
“You have to flush that,” manager Scott Servais said. “We did it to them (Monday) night, and they turned around and did it to us tonight. A rough night for Bergy.
“A lot of balls up and in the middle of the plate on a night when the ball was carrying very well.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: Bergman allowing Vargas to score from third on a hopper back to the mound is a worthy challenger to inattentive Zych allowed Jose Bautista to take second base as the season’s top brain cramp.
Not much good happened after that.
PLUS: The Mariners got 14 hits, including two apiece from Gamel, Cano, Cruz, Dyson and Zunino. The offense was fine…Haniger threw out two runners…Dyson’s homer was his third of the year, which is a career high. He entered the season with seven in seven seasons.
MINUS: Rzepczynski allowed three earned runs in one-third of an inning after allowing just two earned runs in his previous 14 2/3 innings. His ERA jumped from 1.23 to 3.00…Rzepczynski also had a defensive lapse when he failed to cover first base on a grounder to right side…Seager committed his seven error of the season when he dropped a throw in a rundown…
STAT PACK: The combined total of 42 hits was a record at Target Field, which opened in 2010…Ruiz’s first appearance as a pitcher came in his 1,110th career game. He gave up one run and two hits…
QUOTABLE: “We couldn’t stop them,” Servais said. “They just kept squaring it up.”
SHORT HOPS: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to throw roughly 45 pitches over three innings in a rehab start at Hi-A Modesto against San Jose (Giants). It will be his first game action since being diagnosed with inflammation in his shoulder after a May 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels…plans call for shortstop Jean Segura to take regular batting practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a high right ankle sprain on a slide at second base in a June 1 game against Colorado.
ON DECK: The Mariners and Twins continue their four-game series at 5:10 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday at Target Field. Right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1 with a 2.79 ERA) will oppose Minnesota right-hander Ervin Santana (8-3, 2.20).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners