Twins-Mariners Preview - NBC Sports

Twins-Mariners Preview
April 25, 2015, 1:59 am

Patiently, the Seattle Mariners are successfully working their way back from a rough start.

The Mariners will try a third time to win three straight games Saturday night against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Felix Hernandez allowed five hits for his first complete game victory since August 2012 and Nelson Cruz hit his major league-leading ninth home run in Friday's 2-0 win over Minnesota.

"You've got to recognize a good performance on their side," Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB's official website. "We were trying different things. We tried to be aggressive, we tried to be patient. But nothing was very effective."

A winner in four of six since opening 3-7, Seattle (7-9) continues to go about its business in a calm and confident manner.

"We're happy to come out on top," said Cruz, who is tied for the third-most home runs hit in the opening month of a season in club history.

Batting .328 and also leading the majors with 18 RBIs, Cruz has homered in three straight games versus the Twins (6-10). The only time he went deep in four consecutive contests against the same team was versus Houston in 2013 with Texas.

Cruz went 0 for 2 with a strikeout and was hit by a pitch last season while facing Minnesota's Trevor May (1-1, 4.76 ERA), a native of Longview, Washington, who makes his first professional appearance in his home state. The right-hander looks to build on Sunday's effort when he gave up one run and four hits without a walk through six innings of a 7-2 victory over Cleveland.

May, who went 3-6 with a 7.89 ERA in nine starts for the Twins in 2014, is making his third straight since being called up from Triple-A Rochester to replace the injured the Ricky Nolasco.

"My biggest thing is just be ready to pitch whenever they say you're pitching," he said.

The Mariners counter with James Paxton (0-1, 8.40), who tries to bounce back after he allowed seven runs and a career-high 10 hits in 2 2-3 innings of Sunday's 11-10 home win over Texas.

"I'm struggling right now, but I'm not going to quit fighting," said the left-hander, who yielded five runs in 6 1-3 innings of his previous start at Dodger Stadium. "I'm going to figure it out and persevere."

Though this will be Paxton's first appearance against the Twins, veteran Torii Hunter is 1 for 5 with a home run against him.

Trevor Plouffe had two hits Friday for Minnesota, which has been shut out three times while going 2-8 on the road. Plouffe is 10 for 23 in his last six games after going 4 for 30 in his first nine.

Seattle's Logan Morrison homered for his first extra-base hit of the season Friday, but is hitting just .185.

"I was more of like `finally it went over the fence," Morrison said. "I didn't feel like I was due. You don't think about that as a player you think about each day getting better and trying to feel comfortable."

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