As they try to avoid being swept, the Seattle Mariners will be without Mike Sweeney, who's battling back spasms.
No, not the spasms high on his back that nailed him earlier this season - these are low in his back. With an off-day Monday, the team hopes he can play by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Franklin Gutierrrez gets a day off, Yuniesky Betancourt starts again and Erik Bedard (ERA: 2.37) will pitch and hope to get, oh, a run or two.
Their six-game losing streak has dropped them from first to third place in tghre American League West, pulled them under .500 and reminded fans of long losing streaks that gutted the last three seasons.
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And, after today, the Mariners fly to Texas to play the Rangers in a three-game series beginning Tuesday.
They don't want to get there with a seven-game losing streak.
Yes, Virginia, they need a win badly.
Happy mothers day. We're off.
The pressure builds
Every inning a Mariners pitcher takes the mound after his team fails to score gets tougher.
Human nature can't be coached away, and with the Mariners not scoring runs, Seattle pitchers can't win by merely pitching well - they have to be thinking 'shutout.'
Bedard loaded the bases with Twins with one out, then got a force at the plate and struck out Matt Tolbert.
Two shutout innings, he's tied. And the pressure builds.
Twins break through
Joe Mauer walked and Justin Morneau doubled him home, though Morneau was then caught in a rundown and tagged out.
None-the-less, it's a run, and the Mariners fail to score first again.
So far, Seattle has managed an infield hit by Ichiro.
After three: Twins 1, Mariners 0
Mariners miss a chance
Ken Griffey Jr. drove a ball off the wall in right center field for a double. Adrian Beltre singled him to third, with no one out.
Branyan popped out. Wladimir Balentien popped out. Betancourt grounded out.
It wasn't the place or the personnel to put on a squeeze, but many more innings - or games - like this, and Don Wakamatsu might start bunting once anyone gets to third, just to have a shot at scoring him.In the fourth: Twins 1, Mariners 0
And another chance
Endy Chavez doubled with one out, but when Ichiro grounded to shortstop, Chavez tried to take third and was caught in a rundown.
Jose Lopez grounded out.
No run, again.
In the fifth: Twins 1, Mariners 0
Bedard say 'adieu'
As the pitches piled up, Bedard's game went south.
Two outs into the fifth, he walked Morneau, then wild-pitched him to second base. With his 110th pitch, Bedard gave up a line drive single to right field that Ichiro short-hopped, and Morneau scored.
Mark Lowe entered the game, but the Mariners are now down two.
After five: Twins 2, Mariners 0
Junior to the rescue
Five outs from being shutout, Junior followed a walk to Lopez with career home run No. 614 - a timely shot that tied the game and fired up his team.
Beltre and Branyan followed with singles, and reliever Jesse Crain wild-pitched Beltre home, giving Seattle it's first lead in this weekend series.
Balentien doubled home Branyan.
In the eighth: Mariners 4, Twins 2
It's over - and so is the streak
Jose Lopez added a solo home run in the ninth inning and Brandon Morrow returned to the mound to end it - which he did, getting the final out with the bases full of Twins.
Now it's a one-game winning streak.
It's a final: Mariners 5, Twins 3