SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano regularly makes the difficult look routine. So when Seattle’s star and one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball makes two errors on one play, it’s a shocking moment.
“I should’ve made that play, I’ve made that play before,” Cano said. “It’s part of the game.”
The Minnesota Twins took advantage of the two errors by Cano in a 2-1 win over the Mariners on Thursday night, although his mistakes weren’t the only reason Seattle’s five-game winning streak ended. Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson had his finest outing of the season pitching one-run ball into the seventh inning and Jason Castro extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a solo home run off Seattle starter Christian Bergman (3-3), the only mistake by the right-hander.
But the difference proved to be Cano’s gaffe in the fifth inning that Seattle couldn’t overcome as the Twins avoided a three-game sweep.
With two out in the fifth inning and a runner on second, Cano misplayed Joe Mauer’s slow grounder. He compounded the mistake by trying to catch Ehire Adrianza at third base, but Cano’s throw was low, skipped past Kyle Seager and allowed Adrianza to score.
“No matter how great the players are, it does happen every once in a while,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You typically don’t see it out of Robbie, he has great hands, one of the most sure-handed second baseman in the league. It got away from him, and the throw was off line obviously short hopped at third. Very uncharacteristic play, but it happens once in a while.”
Gibson (3-4) managed to quiet Seattle’s hot bats, pitching into the seventh inning for the first time the season. The Mariners were averaging 8.17 runs per game so far in June, but were limited to Ben Gamel’s sacrifice fly to score Jarrod Dyson.
Gibson lasted just one batter into the seventh, getting pulled after giving up a leadoff single to Taylor Motter. He allowed five hits and struck out four. He also got one big defensive assist thanks to another highlight catch by Byron Buxton. With two on and two out in the fifth, Cano lined a shot to deep center field. Buxton raced back and at the last moment reached above his head falling backward to make the catch and likely save two runs.
“That’s an easy misread because the ball really had a lot of carry,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said.
Seattle threatened late, getting the tying run to second base in the seventh and eighth innings. With one out in the eighth, Mike Zunino lined a shot back up the middle that reliever Taylor Rogers snared and doubled Cano off second base to end the threat.
“How many times you see a pitcher make that catch? Maybe one out of 50 times,” Cano said.
A day after giving up a game-winning home run in the ninth, Minnesota closer Brandon Kintzler got the final three outs for his 16th save.
“You’re always happy to get your closer back out there if you can after a little bit of a hiccup,” Molitor said.
For the second time since the season opener, Seattle missed a chance to climb above .500. After getting to 17-17 last month, the Mariners were immediately swept in four games by Toronto.
Right-hander Chris Heston was claimed off waivers by the Twins and arrived in Seattle late Wednesday night. For now, Heston will work out of the bullpen for the Twins, manager Paul Molitor said, but Minnesota is in need of a starter for Sunday’s game at San Francisco and has a doubleheader on the horizon next week against Cleveland. Heston started one game earlier this season for Seattle.
Mariners: DH Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for a second straight day due a strained right calf. Cruz wanted to play on Thursday but was held out for another day. He’s expected to be in the lineup on Friday. … LHP Drew Smyly (flexor strain) will throw his first bullpen session on Saturday. Smyly did light throwing from halfway up the mound on Thursday.
Twins: Ervin Santana (7-3) looks to rebound from giving up seven runs in four innings in his last start as Minnesota opens a series at San Francisco.
Mariners: Sam Gaviglio (2-1) allowed just one run in five innings in his last start. He gets the start as Seattle opener a weekend series against Toronto.