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Mariners get in on home run fest with three to beat Twins

Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) hits a two-run double in the fifth inning at Seattle's T-Mobile Park on Sunday, May 19. Lindsey Wasson / USA TODAY Sports1 / 2
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (25) catches a pop fly by Seattle Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith (0) in the third inning at T-Mobile Park on Sunday, May 19. Lindsey Wasson / USA TODAY Sports2 / 2

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners would like you to know that they, too, can hit home runs.

A night after watching Twins hitters light up their pitchers for six of them, the Mariners responded with three of their own Sunday, May 19, to beat the Twins 7-4 in the series finale at T-Mobile Park.

The dagger came in the seventh inning when Edwin Encarnacion hit his 13th home run of the season to left-center off Washington native Trevor May. It was the first homer the Twins reliever had given up this season. Before that, May had walked the previous two batters — Mitch Haniger and Daniel Vogelbach — setting the stage for Encarnacion to cushion the lead.

“He’s just a quality impactful hitter in the middle of the lineup for them and it’s not surprising to see him to good things, driving the ball, and having good at-bats,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Encarnacion.

The Mariners (23-26) had been leading by just a run prior to that as they responded to the Twins’ three-run inning with three runs of their own immediately in the fifth thanks to a two-run blast from Haniger and a solo shot from Vogelbach to follow that up off starter Kyle Gibson.

The Twins (30-16) snapped their 13-game homer streak in the loss. Minnesota scored three of its runs in the fifth inning, the first coming on a Jorge Polanco and subsequent throwing error, the second on a Jonathan Schoop groundout and the third on another Seattle error. The Twins added their last on a Polanco RBI single in the ninth, his fourth hit of the game.

Seattle rookie starter Yusei Kikuchi gave up three of those runs, though only one earned. In six innings pitched, he gave up five hits and struck out six and minimized hard contact all game.

“I think we had some good at-bats off him and forced him to work and got some guys on base and ultimately when it came down to getting a big hit and driving in some runs, we probably missed a couple of opportunities but ultimately I thought our at-bats were fine,” Baldelli said.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who served up the back-to-back home runs, gave up four runs on nine hits in his six innings while striking out six and taking the loss. As has been the case in some of his previous starts, Gibson started to run into trouble the third time through the order.

“Overall I felt really good. I think if I could have one pitch back, that’s really all I’d ask for,” Gibson said. “Even the Vogelbach pitch, obviously I would have faced him the next inning but it was away, up a little bit but the one pitch I want to have back is the Haniger ball. Other than that, I felt really good.”

The loss broke the Twins’ season-high five-game winning streak, though the Twins will head to Anaheim unfazed after a solid series in Seattle.

“Very rarely are you going to sweep four games so anytime you can come in and get three out of four, head to the next city … we set ourselves up for a winning road trip already,” Gibson said. “Offense and defense and pitching did a good job the first three days and we’ll keep rolling into LA.”