SEATTLE (AP) — Nick Franklin and Brad Miller, two infielders who were toiling in Seattle’s minor league system a couple of months ago, are having a major impact on the big league club.
Franklin homered twice, including a three-run shot, and Miller had two hits and scored two runs in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
“They spark us up the middle defensively,” Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said. “They spark us at the top of the order. It’s not often you see a couple guys come up from Triple-A and hit 1-2 in the order in a short period of time. They’ve done a great job for us.”
Chris Colabello hit a two-run homer for the Twins, but Endy Chavez robbed him of a second one to keep Seattle close in the early innings.
Franklin and Michael Saunders both went deep during a pivotal four-run fourth. With the Mariners down 2-1, Saunders tied it with his seventh homer to open the inning, deep into the second deck in right field.
After Henry Blanco reached on a fielder’s choice and Miller walked, Franklin connected on a 1-1 pitch from Kyle Gibson (2-3) to put the Mariners ahead 5-2.
“Coming back from three Ks (on Saturday), honestly I was just trying to get the team going,” Franklin said. “I just tried to make contact and not try to do anything too special.”
Franklin added his 10th homer to right field with one out in the seventh. The second baseman’s 10 home runs and 32 RBIs are the most among American League rookies.
“We have a lot in common,” said Miller, a shortstop. “We both want to bring a lot of energy. The biggest thing is we’re in this together. We’re learning. It’s really nice having someone go through it with you. I feed off him and the energy he brings.
“The thing about (Franklin) is he’s not intimidated. He doesn’t care if he strikes out. He’s going to come back the next day and battle. He’s not scared of anybody.”
Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits to pick up the win. He struck out six and walked two.
Ramirez, who missed most of the year with right triceps tendinitis, won his second straight game since being recalled from the minors July 11.
Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his 24th save in 29 opportunities.
Four of the Twins’ seven hits off Ramirez were for extra bases, including Colabello’s homer in the second. Colabello also hit a two-run shot Friday, the first of his career.
Ryan Doumit opened the Minnesota second with a double to deep right that had to be verified by replay. Chavez reached over the wall to deflect the ball back onto the field. It caromed off the top of the fence, along the yellow line, and bounced onto the warning track.
It didn’t matter much because Doumit scored on the next pitch when Colabello deposited his second career home run over the wall in straightaway center.
One inning later, Chavez faced nearly the exact same situation. With Brian Dozier on second and two outs, Colabello drove one high to right. Chavez took a leap at the wall, reached over and this time brought the ball back in his glove.
“I had more time to get to the fence,” Chavez said. “The first one was kind of a line drive, and I had to hurry up to jump. But I could have made both.”
The one he caught became a significant play.
“That keeps the game at two. It could have been five,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He made a great play on two of them out there. That’s a big three points at the time. Big play, big play for him, and another nice swing by Colabello. Unfortunately, he made a play.”
Colabello knew it was an important one.
“It would have been nice to put one over or off the wall for the team, get a couple more runs, a little more separation,” he said.
The Mariners got a run in the third. Miller singled, went to third on Franklin’s single and scored when Kyle Seager hit a sacrifice fly.
The Twins closed to 5-4 in the sixth on Clete Thomas’ RBI single and Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly.
Franklin and Miller turned a slick double play in the ninth when Pedro Florimon hit a grounder behind second. Miller flagged it down and flipped to Franklin, who touched the bag and tossed to first.
“That was special,” Thompson said. “I was hoping to just get one out of that and we ended up turning a double play. Great way to end it there.”
NOTES: The Mariners closed their clubhouse before the game for a brief visit from manager Eric Wedge, sidelined after a mild stroke July 22. He has missed seven games and will skip the upcoming six-game road trip. “Eric came in and said hello to the boys,” Thompson said. “He walked in as proud, strong and tall as Eric always is and it was good for the guys to see him.” … After the game, the Twins optioned catcher Drew Butera to Triple-A Rochester. All-Star catcher Joe Mauer will be reinstated from the restricted list Monday and is expected to be in uniform Tuesday night against Kansas City. Mauer spent the maximum three days on the paternity list following the birth of his twin daughters Wednesday, then was moved to the restricted list for two days. … RHP Rich Harden, injured for much of his nine-year big league career, was granted his release by the Twins. “He’s had a lat, shoulder and a variety of things,” assistant GM Rob Antony said. “He just couldn’t get healthy.” Harden had been working out at the team’s facility in Fort Myers, Fla. … Dozier left in the sixth with lower back stiffness. “I did something two nights ago and it locked up on me a couple times,” he said. “It’s just a little back spasm.” … During the seventh-inning stretch, a fan in the third deck let loose dozens of dollar bills into the air to advertise an event. The bills fluttered above the crowd and the field, delaying the game momentarily while they settled.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.