Mike Leake pitched well enough to win his third consecutive start.
The Mariners’ bullpen didn’t.
The Minnesota Twins scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning off the alliterative duo of Brandon Brennan and Austin Adams to rally past Seattle 6-5 Tuesday night.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his American League-leading 21st home run of the season for the M’s, a three-run shot in the second inning for a 3-0 lead.
The Twins tied it in the third on back-to-back homers by Jonathan Schoop and Jason Castro.
The M’s regained the lead in the fifth on Daniel Vogelbach’s run-scoring single. They added a run in the seventh on Kyle Seager’s RBI single to make it 5-4.
Leake allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings, with no walks and six strikeouts.
Brennan (2-5) replaced Leake in the eighth and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced. Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco led off with back-to-back doubles and Nelson Cruz walked. Adams entered with no outs and runner son first and second but couldn’t stop the Twins. Polanco advanced to third on a flyout to left field and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Marwin Gonzalez then lined a single to center to score Cruz, the former Mariner, with the go-ahead run.
Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana led off the ninth with singles, but Encarnacion was called out on a third strike that appeared well outside the zone, Vogelbach popped up to second base and Seager flew out to left field to end the game.
The M’s activated second baseman Dee Gordon from the 10-day injured list (right wrist contusion) and optioned RHP Matt Festa to Triple-A Tacoma.
By the numbers
63: Lost in the hubbub of Encarnacion’s 400th career homer Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels was his franchise record for fewest games to reach 20 home runs in a season. The previous mark of 69 was accomplished by Russell Branyan in 2009.
Our take from Right Field
An intriguing sidebar to this series is the race for MLB’s home run lead. The M’s entered the series with a 126-125 advantage over the Twins, but Minnesota tied it at 127 with the back-to-back HRs. These teams dig the long ball.
The M’s continue their three-game series in Minnesota with a 5:10 p.m. game Wednesday. LHP Tommy Milone (1-1) is scheduled to take on Twins RHP Jose Berrios (8-2).
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