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Rosario flirts with cycle as Twins go on tear

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario and Aaron Hicks combined for six hits, five runs and four RBIs to help the Twins snap a four-game losing streak with a 9-5 win over the Mariners on Thursday night at Target Field.

Rosario fell a single short of the cycle, as he was robbed of a hit in the eighth on a leaping catch from Mariners shortstop Brad Miller, but still had three hits, including a three-run blast as part of a five-run first inning. Hicks registered his fifth straight multi-hit game by going 3-for-4 with a solo homer and a walk, and is hitting .365 over his last 22 games since coming off the disabled list.

"We were all pulling for him after he knocked the three toughest legs out in his first three at-bats," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Rosario. "It wasn't meant to be. I just told him he'll get more chances. But cycles can be a little bit lucky. But it was still a really good night for him and hopefully he can build on it."

The offense picked up right-hander Phil Hughes, who allowed five runs on 10 hits over five innings, but got the win. He outpitched Mariners lefty J.A. Happ, as he was hit hard, surrendering seven runs (six earned) over 3 1/3 innings.

"It was a beating," Happ said after surrendering three home runs and falling to 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA .

"It seemed like whatever adjustment I tried to make, they were right on it. I made some mistakes over the plate and it cost me."

Rosario falls single short of cycle: Rosario picked up the hardest parts to a cycle early, as he opened with a three-run homer in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth. But he lined out in the sixth and was robbed by Miller in the eighth to fall short of becoming the first Twins player to hit for the cycle since Michael Cuddyer in 2009. He still finished 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs.

"I hit a line drive, and said 'I got it,'" Rosario said. "But he made a good play. It's OK."

Video: SEA@MIN: Rosario finishes a single shy of cycle

Right on Target: Mariners left fielder Seth Smith loves tormenting the Twins. Smith launched a two-run homer in the top of the first off Hughes to continue a trend that saw him enter the game with the fifth-highest OPS of any batter against the Twins since 1961 (minimum of 70 plate appearances) at 1.099. The 32-year-old went 1-for-4 and is now batting .354 (23-for-65) with four doubles, a triple and five home runs in 20 games against Minnesota, with four of those homers coming in 11 games at Target Field.

Video: SEA@MIN: Smith's homer gives Mariners an early lead

Twins answer with five-run first: After falling behind quickly after Smith's two-run blast in the first, the Twins didn't waste any time taking the lead in the bottom half, scoring five runs. Brian Dozier led off with a solo shot to left before Torii Hunter provided an RBI single to tie the game. Rosario had the big blast with a three-run homer to right to give the Twins an early lead they wouldn't relinquish. More >

"It was pretty much come out and attack," Molitor said. "They took advantage of a mistake in the first getting up by two with Smith's homer. But we came out and Dozier kinda made a statement right away. We had a lot of guys contribute."

The homers kept coming: After the Twins took a 7-3 lead off Happ after three innings, helped by three homers in the first two frames, the Mariners kept the pressure on as Austin Jackson's two-run blast off Hughes in the fourth closed the gap to 7-5. Jackson's sixth homer of the year came on a 1-2 changeup from Hughes and was well struck, with Statcast™ projecting it to land 413 feet from home plate. Jackson went 2-for-4 with a homer, double, walk, two runs and two RBIs.

"It was a changeup that just stayed up," Jackson said of his home run. "He'd been throwing some good ones down in the zone with two strikes there. But that one, he just left it up."

"No doubt, I knew he needed the single. That dude barreled up five balls tonight and it killed us. I was just trying to make a play. I didn't have any more glove. If the ball was any higher, it might have tipped off. To see his reaction, obviously he probably thought he got one. So yeah, it was kind of cool. You fight 'til the end. But for that guy, that's baseball. Sometimes you line out." -- Miller on robbing Rosario of his cycle

"Oh my God. What a night. I feel good. I tried to get the cycle but it didn't happen. Oh well. We won the game." -- Rosario on just coming up short of the cycle

Starting pitching has been one of the Mariners' strengths much of this year, but in the last six games, Seattle's rotation is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA. More >

With his triple in the fifth, Rosario became the fourth Twins player to record triples in three straight games, joining Delmon Young (2008), Dan Gladden (1991) and Rod Carew (1977).

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon challenged an RBI single by Joe Mauer in the seventh, believing that Jackson had made a shoestring catch in center field for the third out of the inning. But a review confirmed the call as the ball just touched the grass before Jackson snapped it up. The run gave the Twins a 9-5 lead.

Video: SEA@MIN: Mauer's RBI single to center gets confirmed

Taijuan Walker will try to get things turned back around when Seattle faces the Twins on Friday at 5:10 p.m. PT. The 22-year-old right-hander is 0-1, 8.02 ERA over his last four starts after going 6-1, 1.68 his previous seven. It'll be his first time facing the Twins.

Twins: Left-hander Tommy Milone starts in the second game of the series. Milone, who is 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 13 starts, has struggled in his last two starts, allowing nine earned runs over his last 8 2/3 innings..

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat and listen to his podcast.Greg Johns is a reporter for Read his Mariners Musings blog and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Phil Hughes, J.A. Happ