SEATTLE (AP) — The Minnesota Twins’ offense has been rolling all season. They had their best game yet Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners.
C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop each hit two home runs and Byron Buxton had a grand slam as the Twins cruised to an 18-4 victory. Miguel Sano also homered for the Twins, who extended their season-high home run streak to 13 games and moved into a tie with Seattle for the major league home run lead with 87.
“It’s fun to put on that kind of offensive performance,” Cron said. “One through nine, we all swung it really well so it was fun to watch.”
Minnesota’s 18 runs were a season high. The Twins have won the first three games of the four-game series, outscoring the Mariners 36-11. Minnesota became the first team in major league history to have five games with at least five home runs before the start of June.
“There’s no weak spots in our lineup,” Cron said. “As a pitcher, that can’t be a comfortable thing. They have to be on their game for every batter.”
Wade LeBlanc (2-1), making his first start in more than a month after returning from the injured list, gave up seven runs and seven hits — including a career-worst four home runs.
“Those guys over there, there’s not much you can say,” LeBlanc said. “I want to say that’s the best hitting team I’ve ever faced in my life. That’s how they looked tonight.”
LeBlanc left his last outing on April 12 with a strained right oblique. Before Saturday’s game, Mariners manager Scott Servais said he hoped LeBlanc would have a “competitive outing” against the Twins, with a pitch limit around 75 pitches. LeBlanc didn’t meet either goal, getting knocked out in the third inning after throwing just 49 pitches.
Minnesota’s offense started the rout in the second inning when Cron hit his first homer, the 100th of his career. Later in the inning, Buxton’s grand slam — the Twins’ first of the year — opened the floodgates.
Buxton and Schoop both tied career highs with five RBIs. Buxton added a run-scoring single to his grand slam, and Schoop had two-run and three-run homers.
Starter Jose Berrios was looking to rebound after his roughest outing of the season in which he gave up five runs and 12 hits, both season highs, in a loss to the Angels on Monday. Berrios cruised through the first four innings in this one, but wasn’t able to pick up the win. He was pulled in the fifth after giving up four runs and six hits in the inning, and throwing 105 pitches overall.
“Some very long breaks for him, multiple very long breaks in only four innings,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That can definitely be challenging. If it wasn’t for purely pitch count reasons, we’d probably let him go out there and finish the inning.”
Tyler Duffey (1-0) came on and went 1 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
Mariners backup catcher Tom Murphy pitched the ninth inning, retiring all three batters he faced with two strikeouts. He was the sixth Seattle pitcher, and the only one not to give up a run or a hit or walk a batter.
Mariners: INF Dylan Moore started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday. Moore has been on the injured list since May 10 with a wrist contusion. … RHP Sam Tuivailala, recovering from a right Achilles rupture, is also with Tacoma for rehab after being transferred from Single-A Modesto. … Servais said RHP Gerson Bautista, who strained his right pectoral muscle in spring training, will also start a rehab assignment at Tacoma soon.
Seattle optioned RHP Matt Festa to Triple-A Tacoma to make room on the roster for LeBlanc.
Luis Arraez made his major league debut for the Twins, entering in the fifth inning as a defensive replacement at shortstop. He doubled in the eighth inning.
Twins: Kyle Gibson (3-1, 4.19 ERA) makes his ninth start in the final game of the four-game series with Seattle.
Mariners: Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 3.64) has gone at least six innings and given up three runs or fewer in all three of his starts in May.