MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Nelson Cruz homered and had three RBIs and utility infielder Ehire Adrianza’s hustle keyed a six-run sixth and the Minnesota Twins topped the Seattle Mariners 10-5 on Thursday.
Cruz, who played for the Mariners from 2015-18 before joining Minnesota as a free agent, homered in the third and added a two-run single in the sixth when Adrianza helped key the rally.
Max Kepler led off with a walk. Adrianza then singled Kepler to third. Mariners right-hander Brandon Brennan, on in relief, threw wildly past first trying to pick off Adrianza.
Kepler scored and Adrianza took second on the throwing error. Adrianza advanced on Brennan’s wild pitch and scored on a ground ball by Jason Castro with the infield in, sliding headfirst to beat second baseman Dee Gordon’s throw. Cruz and Kepler each drove in two runs with singles later in the inning.
Four of the six runs in the inning were charged to Brennan (2-6), who faced seven batters in the three-game series without retiring any of them. Seattle lost for the 24th time in 33 games and is 16-41 since its 13-2 start.
Cruz gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with his fifth home run in seven games, a line drive into the lower seats in left. That was the only run allowed in five innings by Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi, a Japanese left-hander who lost his previous three starts.
Twins starter Michael Pineda, facing the team that signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, limited Seattle to two hits in 5 2/3 innings and left the game with two on and a 1-0 lead.
Seattle’s Daniel Vogelbach, coming off a career-high four-hit game on Wednesday, singled against Twins reliever Ryan Harper to tie it, the run charged to Pineda.
Harper (2-0), a 30-year-old rookie who pitched into the seventh, was the beneficiary of the Twins’ rally.
C.J. Cron hit his 15th homer for the Twins, who lead the majors with 132. Jorge Polanco’s single in the sixth-inning rally gave him a career-high 14-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the majors.
Seattle’s Mallex Smith extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the eighth, when the Mariners scored twice. The Mariners added two more runs in the ninth.
The Twins improved to 45-22 and hold an 11-game lead of second-place Cleveland (34-33) in the AL Central Division standings.
Before the game, the Twins recalled right-handed reliever Francisco Romero from Triple-A Rochester and optioned Ryan Eades to the same club. Eades threw 35 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday night’s 10-inning loss.
Twins: Reliever Taylor Rogers (stiff back) did not pitch for the third consecutive game but warmed up in the ninth.
Twins: Kyle Gibson (6-3, 4.14 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series with Kansas City. In his previous start, he gave up five runs in a loss at Detroit. First pitch tonight is set for 7:10.