Twins try to match longest winning streak of season

( - The Minnesota Twins try to match their longest winning streak of the season this evening as they entertain the Seattle Mariners in the second of a three-game series at Target Field.

Breaking even after 40 games, the Twins have won three consecutive outings twice previously and are shooting for a third straight and fifth in the last six outings on Saturday as they follow up their 5-4 win in the series opener last night.

Second in the American League Central standings, 6 1/2 games behind the streaking Detroit Tigers, Minnesota erupted for 12 hits and scored at least one run in four consecutive innings as they slipped by the Mariners. Brian Dozier and Josmil Pinto were two of the fourth players with at least two hits and each went deep for the hosts. Despite batting only .250 to this point Dozier, now in his third season with Minnesota, already has 10 home runs.

Kyle Gibson captured the win for the Twins as the starter lasted seven innings, allowing just a single run on six hits and a couple of walks, while striking out four. Reliever Caleb Thielbar was roughed up for three runs as he recorded just a single out, but Casey Fien and Glen Perkins righted the ship as the latter claimed his 11th save.

"Another exciting baseball game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire noted. "Our guys came out swinging and got a lead but we had to hang on there a little bit. Perk at the end -- that was huge. It was a big comeback for him after yesterday."

Seattle, which has now lost three in a row and is a game below .500 overall, sits in third place in the AL West, trailing Oakland and Anaheim following the first setback of the campaign for Chris Young. The hurler made it through seven innings, but gave up all five runs on 10 hits and failed to strike out a single batter.

"It just wasn't my best," said Young. "When I made a mistake, they hit it. And when I made a good pitch, I felt like they hit it, too. Some nights you run into a hot team and you tip your hat. It's just one of those nights. The guys gave it a fight and tried to come back and bail me out, I just dug 'em too big a hole."

At the plate, Dustin Ackley knocked in a pair for the Mariners, while Michael Saunders and Robinson Cano combined for five of the unit's nine hits overall.

The Mariners have tapped rookie hurler Roenis Elias as their starter for tonight's meeting in Minneapolis. The left-hander has won two of his last four outings, but was roughed up a bit on Sunday when he was touched for five runs -- three earned -- through five innings versus Kansas City. The youngster scattered a career-high nine hits and struck out five before exiting.

A game over .500 at the moment, the last setback for Elias came in a 7-0 shutout against Miami on the road almost a month ago.

Seeking his first victory of the 2014 campaign, Samuel Deduno is slated to take the hill for the Twins this time around. The right-hander, who already has a career mark of 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in three appearances against Seattle, lasted a season-high six inning on Sunday against Detroit on the road, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out five in what turned into a 4-3 win for Minnesota.

Over the last week Minnesota has had the most productive hitters in the American League, batting a combined .297, while Seattle, which is second from the bottom in hitting on the season overall (.232), is much further down on that list through the last six games at .236.

The Twins claimed a narrow advantage in the series last season, 4-3, but only after picking up a mere two wins in 10 attempts in 2012 versus Seattle.