Mariners 5, Twins 4
SEATTLE (AP) _ Bob Wells is not to be confused with Randy Johnson.
Wells is 10 inches shorter than the 6-foot-10 Seattle ace, but he loomed large when the Seattle Mariners used a four-run seventh inning rally to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Monday night.
Wells (2-0) benefitted from the rally, winning the game with 3 2-3 innings of shutout relief. As expected, Johnson missed his scheduled Monday start with a sore back.
``Nobody is going to take the place of Randy Johnson,″ Wells said. ``I just wanted to go out and keep us in a postion to win the game.″
Inheriting a 4-1 deficit in the top of the fifth inning, Wells allowed two hits, struck out three and did not allow a Minnesota baserunner to reach scoring position.
``Wells completely shut us down,″ Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. ``We put a couple of good balls on him here and there, but he put the zeroes on the board.″
In his last nine appearances (19 innings), Wells has not allowed a run, dropping his ERA to 1.09.
``Bob has been throwing with good velocity and good location, and that’s a formula for success for any pitcher,″ Seattle catcher Dan Wilson said.
Johnson played catch for five minutes earlier in the day, and Mariners officials reported he experienced no problems with a sore back that forced him to leave his last start early. He will be examined by team physician Dr. Larry Pedegana on Tuesday to determine if he is well enough to get clearance to pitch again, according to a Mariners spokesman.
The 1995 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched only two innings on Wednesday before leaving with an irritated nerve in his lower back. He hasn’t pitched since.
Pinch-hitter Rich Amaral’s two-run single capped the four-run seventh inning. Norm Charlton pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
With Seattle trailing 4-1, Jay Buhner and Paul Sorrento opened the seventh with consecutive homers off Brad Radke (3-4). Wilson walked and Luis Sojo singled to chase Radke.
``I hate to walk guys,″ Radke said. ``I would rather they hit the ball out of the park to tell you the truth. Pretty ugly.″
Russ Davis bunted the runners over, and Amaral singled to left off reliever Eddie Guardado, giving the Mariners a 5-4 lead.
``In that situation I don’t want to let anything good to hit go by me,″ Amaral said. ``Fortunately, I hit a line drive and nobody caught it.″
Radke allowed only six hits, but three of them were homers. He walked three and struck out five.
After giving up a leadoff homer to Darren Bragg, Radke retired 17 of the next 21 batters, and no Seattle baserunner reached scoring position before Buhner and Sorrento homered.
Roberto Kelly’s RBI groundout in the second inning tied the game 1-1, and Jeff Reboulet’s sacrifice fly in the third put the Twins ahead. RBI singles by Scott Stahoviak and Pat Meares made it 4-1 in the fourth off Seattle starter Edwin Hurtado.
Notes: Chuck Knoblauch missed his first start of the year with an injured middle finger on his left hand, leaving Paul Molitor as the only Twins player to start every game this season. ... The Twins’ current four-game losing streak is the team’s longest of the season. ... Bragg became the 29th player to homer into the upper level of right field at the Kingdome. ... ... The homers by Buhner and Sorrento were the eighth of the season for both.