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Seattle's bats stifled by Twins' D, tough luck

Mariners' 5-game win streak ends in 2-1 loss
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- There are going to be nights like this in baseball. There just haven't been many lately for the Mariners, who saw their recent offensive surge dented by a couple outstanding defensive plays by the Twins in a 2-1 loss Thursday night at Safeco.

After outscoring their opponents, 75-30, while winning nine of their previous 10, Seattle went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and could do nothing more than tip their cap to the Twins' efforts.

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SEATTLE -- There are going to be nights like this in baseball. There just haven't been many lately for the Mariners, who saw their recent offensive surge dented by a couple outstanding defensive plays by the Twins in a 2-1 loss Thursday night at Safeco.

After outscoring their opponents, 75-30, while winning nine of their previous 10, Seattle went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and could do nothing more than tip their cap to the Twins' efforts.

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Center fielder Byron Buxton robbed Robinson Cano in a key situation with runners on the corners in the fifth with an excellent catch on a ball over his head, and Minnesota pulled a true Twin-killing in the eighth when Mike Zunino rifled a shot up the middle that reliever Taylor Rogers snared and turned into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second.

"Luck was not on our side tonight," said Seattle skipper Scott Servais. "It happens some nights."

Video: Must C Catch: Buxton leaps, tumbles to rob Cano

Zunino was the hero a night earlier when he clubbed two home runs, including a two-run walkoff in a 6-5 win. But this time the baseball gods were looking elsewhere when he lashed his line smash up the middle.

"I was hoping it was through," Zunino said. "It looked like I hit it right into his glove. They don't all fall when you need to. I thought we had some good at-bats late in the game, we just couldn't get one through."

Video: MIN@SEA: Rogers snares comebacker, doubles off Cano

Cano could only shrug as well after watching Buxton run down his deep drive that would have at least tied the game in the fifth and may well have scored a pair with the fleet Guillermo Heredia on first.

"I crushed that ball," Cano said. "But I forgot that is a guy that can run and jump."

Cano was doubled off second on the Zunino line shot as well.

"How many times do you see the pitcher make that catch?" Cano said. "Maybe one out of 50 times. I like that we fought to the end. We just have to be ready for tomorrow and a new series."

The tough-luck outs didn't help the Mariners on a night they couldn't overcome Cano's two errors on one play when he allowed the winning run to score when he booted a grounder by Joe Mauer, then threw the ball away trying to nail Ehire Adrianza after he'd rounded third aggressively on the play.

"Errors happen," Servais said. "They're part of the game. No matter how great players are, it does happen once in a while. You typically don't see that from Robbie. He's got great hands and is one of the most sure-handed second basemen in the league. But it got away from him and the throw was offline, obviously short-hopped at third. It was a very uncharacteristic play, but it happens once in a while. It just wasn't our night tonight."

So the Mariners will regroup and take another shot at getting over .500 for the first time when they face the Blue Jays in a three-game set to close out their 11-game homestand.

"Obviously we've been playing good baseball of late and sometimes it doesn't go your way," said Zunino. "But I think we can build off some things that happened today and it's been a good homestretch so far. So hopefully we can continue to do that when Toronto comes to town."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners