Seattle, WA – John Jaso knocked in the game-winning run with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Seattle Mariners snuck past the Minnesota Twins, 3-2, in the middle test of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
Facing Tyler Robertson (1-1), Michael Saunders began the inning with a single and Brendan Ryan legged out a bunt single to move the potential winning run into scoring position.
Dustin Ackley followed with a walk to load the bases. Casey Fien came in from the Twins bullpen and Jaso lifted a fly ball to left field, which was deep enough to score Saunders from third for the winning tally.
"You feel good with him up there in those situations," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We weren't going to mess around with him, I didn't want to put him in a situation where he had to get a hit to win the ballgame. If he could do what he did, that'd be enough and it worked out."
Tom Wilhelmsen (4-2) got the final out in the top of the ninth to collect the win.
Ackley finished with three hits and an RBI and Justin Smoak crushed a solo home run for the Mariners, who took the series-opener on Friday, 5-3.
Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer knocked in runs for the Twins, who have lost eight of their last nine games.
The Twins opened the scoring with a run in their first at-bat. Jamey Carroll began the game with a base hit and went to second on a wild pitch. Carroll then advanced to third on a groundout by Mauer and scored when Morneau ripped a single into left field.
Saunders smacked a one-out single in the Seattle third and went to third on a single by Ryan before hustling home on a single by Ackley to tie the game at one.
The Twins took the lead in the seventh after Mauer grounded into a double play which allowed Pedro Florimon to score, but Smoak tied the game for the Mariners in the home seventh after he got a fastball from Minnesota starter Scott Diamond on the 10th pitch of the at-bat and launched it over the wall in left-center field.
"It was an exciting ball game. Unfortunately, we couldn't come up with a hit," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't know how many guys we left out there, quite a bit with runners in scoring position. Not very good numbers tonight."
Seattle improved to 21-13 since the All-Star break ... The Mariners have won 11 of their last 12 games at home ... Mariners starter Jason Vargas allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings ... Diamond surrendered two runs on nine hits and no walks over 6 2/3 innings ... Minnesota finished 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.