Cruz launches 2-run blast but Miranda gets shaken up in loss to Twins

By Mariners365
Sep. 25, 2016

9/24 at MIN by TOM HAYDEN 

81-73, Eliminated from AL WEST, 2.5 GB in AL WILD CARD ----

The Mariners were narrowly defeated on Saturday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a final score of 3-2 to the Twins. LHP Ariel Miranda took the ball for the M's in this one, coming off of what have been solid starts through his rookie season with the M's. Ariel didn't have his best night on Saturday however, as he gave up a pair of home runs which stung the Mariners in the end. Offensively, DH Nelson Cruz had himself a night, boosting his already impressive career numbers at Target Field up even more. Cruz connected for the MLB's second longest home run hit this season in the ball game! With the tough loss, however, the Mariners have fallen to a W-L record of 81-73 with now just 8 games left to play in the 2016 season. Our M's trail the Baltimore Orioles by 2.5 games and the Detroit Tigers by 2.0 games in this Wild Card race. 

On Saturday night in Seattle, LHP Ariel Miranda took the ball for what was his 9th start of the season and 11th appearance. Coming into the game, Miranda had won 2-of-his-last-3 starts for himself and the M's. His ERA of under 3.00 was one of the lowest in baseball so far for the month of September. Unfortunately, the Twins got the best of Miranda on Saturday night in Minneapolis as he went 4.0 innings giving up 3 runs on 3 hits (all runs earned) while walking 1 and striking out no Twins. Miranda struggled to keep the ball in the park, which was his only problem in this one as he gave up a pair of crucial solo home runs to Twins offense. Miranda suffered the loss in this one, and now has an individual W-L record of 5-2 on the season with an ERA of 4.10 in just over 50.0 innings pitched to date. Relief pitching was dominant in this one, however, as they have been for pretty much all season I would say. If it wasn't for Seattle's solid relief pitching this season, I'd doubt that they would be this close here at the end. Relief was started up by RHP Drew Storen (5.47 ERA) who went 2.0 innings giving no hits and striking out 3 Twins on the night. RHP Evan Scribner (0.00 ERA) went 1.0 inning while striking out 2. RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (6.95 ERA) tossed the rest of the ball game going 1.0 inning while striking out 1 Twin on the night. In the last 16 games, the M's bull pen has a an ERA of 1.80 over a span of 50 innings. 

Offensively on Saturday night at Target Field, Seattle was quiet in putting up just 2 runs on 5 hits off of Twins' pitching. DH Nelson Cruz (.284 AVG) had another fantastic night at the dish homering in his 2nd straight game and extending his Target Field hitting steak to 9 games. Cruz went 2-for-4 at the plate in this one with 2 RBI and a run scored for Seattle in the ball game. Nelson connected for his 27th double of the season. In the top of the fourth inning with Canó on at first base, Nelson LAUNCHED a 493-foot home run to the third deck of left field at Target Field for what was the second longest home run of the 2016 season behind only MIA Giancarlo Stanton who hit a ball over 500 feet earlier this season. The homer was Cruz's 39th of the season and the RBI's now give him 98 on the year so far. 2B Robinson Canó (.297 AVG) helped to contribute to offense in this one as well as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored in this one for Seattle. Canó connected for a pair of singles in the ball game. 1B Adam Lind (.234 AVG) also singled in this one going 1-for-4 at the plate. 

WHAT'S NEXT? : 

The Mariners will now look to avoid losing this series come Sunday afternoon at Target Field in Minnesota. Looking to help grab the series win will be RHP Taijuan Walker (6-11, 4.32 ERA) who will be making his 23rd start of the season for the M's. Walker and the M's are set and ready to take on MIN LHP Hector Santiago (12-9, 4.82 ERA)! Be sure to catch all off the series finale action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on KTTH 770 Radio for listening! First pitch start time is scheduled for 11:10 AM PAC, 2:10 PM ET! 

MARINERS 365 NOTES: 

Baseball has lost one of it's most talented, energetic, and positive players. José Fernández, a pitcher for the Miami Marlins passed away in a boating accident on Saturday night (9/24) into Sunday morning (9/25). He was 24 years old. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, or anyone else involved with his life, including the entire Miami Marlins organization. Rest in Peace, José. You will not be forgotten. 

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue as our M's #KeepFighting for the PostSEAson.