|7:10 PM PT8:10 PM MT9:10 PM CT10:10 PM ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 PM MST9:10 PM EST9:40 PM VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 PM CT, May 18, 2019
T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington Attendance: 34,440
M's Kikuchi gets next shot at cooling off Twins' bats
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners
- In the last two series between these teams in Seattle, the Mariners have gone 5-1, posting a 0.57 ERA from their bullpen over that span. The Mariners have hit 10 home runs over those games compared to four home runs for the Twins.
- The Mariners are coming off a two-game sweep of the A's, Seattle's fourth time sweeping an opponent in 2019. Today's opponent, the Twins, are one of three teams with more series sweeps this season: Astros (six), Twins (five) and Dodgers (five).
- The Twins allowed three runs in the ninth inning yesterday before winning, 8-7. Minnesota is 8-4 (.667) in one-run games this season, the best record of any AL team in one-run games. The Mariners have won 10 games by one run, most of any team in the American League.
- Since 2017, Edwin Encarnacion has 38 RBI against Minnesota -- the only American Leaguers with more against any team over that span are Khris Davis (43 vs. Rangers), George Springer (41 vs. Rangers), and Nelson Cruz (39 vs. A's).
- The Twins 7, 8, and 9 hitters each drove in a pair of runs yesterday. As a combined bottom third of the batting order, Minnesota ranks second in MLB in batting average (.272), first in OPS (.854), first in extra-base hits (61) and second in runs scored (72).
- Jorge Polanco hit his fifth triple of 2019 yesterday, one shy of the MLB leaders (Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield). It was his 25th extra-base hit, tying him with George Springer for most in the AL. Polanco is one of nine MLB qualifiers with an OPS over 1.000 this season (1.022).
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Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will try to find a way to cool down the red-hot bats of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon and help the host Seattle Mariners avoid a four-game sweep by the American League Central Division leaders.
The 27-year-old Kikuchi (2-1, 3.64 ERA) hasn't faced the Twins in his career and comes in off a no-decision in his last start against Oakland, a 6-5 win by the Mariners on Monday during which he allowed three runs on five hits over six innings. That came after an impressive 10-1 victory in New York where he held the Yankees to just one run and three hits over 7 2/3 innings.
Kikuchi will have his hands full against a Minnesota team that has won five in a row, including an 18-4 victory on Saturday night that saw the Twins bash six home runs, becoming the first team in major league history with five games of five or more homers in their first 45 games of a season.
C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop both hit two homers and Byron Buxton hit a grand slam in the 19-hit eruption. Miguel Sano also homered for the Twins, who have outscored the Mariners 36-11 in the first three games while hitting 11 home runs.
"Very, very special night for our offense," first-year Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told the media Saturday. "Obviously we hit some homers again. Stating the obvious here, but I haven't seen too many nights like that. Just a very special night."
"They pounded us," Seattle manager Scott Servais countered. "What else you going to say? They hit the tar out of the ball tonight. We made a lot of mistakes. Our pitching is going through a tough spell right now. They are on everything. I'd like to say it's baseball, but we've got to make some adjustments.
"Our pitching has struggled in this series. The Twins can hit. They're swinging it really good. They've got power, and we haven't gotten them off anything. Tomorrow is another ballgame, but the last three nights have been rough on our pitching."
Baldelli was unaware of his team making major league history with its fifth five-home run game before June 1.
"Well, I didn't know that, but watching it from where we are it's not surprising," Baldelli said. "It's been impressive. We sit here -- we're the staff and working with these guys every day and watching them every day -- even from the angle we are at it's very impressive."
Minnesota, which has homered in 13 straight games, is 21-8 in its last 29 games and has won six consecutive road games. Kyle Gibson (4-1, 4.26), who is 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in nine career starts against the Mariners and 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts in Seattle, will start for the Twins.
"We're struggling," Servais said. "That's just the name of the game. We've got to step up. Kikuchi goes tomorrow. He's been very competitive. If he can give us a good outing and we can get into a ballgame and go from there and win it."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 19, 2019