MINNEAPOLIS — Nelson Cruz had a big homer in the fourth inning, but that was all the Seattle Mariners’ struggling offense could muster.
Cruz tied Saturday’s game against Minnesota at 2-all but the last-place Twins recovered for a 3-2 win Saturday night.
Cruz’s homer was estimated by MLB’s Statcast as 493 feet, the second-longest home run in the majors this season behind a 504-foot strike by Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in Colorado’s Coors Field.
“I’ve hit a few over there but they haven’t measured that far,” Cruz said. “You never know with Statcast, you never know how far it’s going to go until they say.”
Mariners manager Scott Servais was also impressed by Cruz’s blast.
“That’s about as far as you can hit it in this park,” Servais said. “He absolutely killed it. Big hit at the time to give us a little momentum going forward, but then they quickly got it back with the Sano homer. I thought we had a chance there late, we just didn’t get it done.”
Minnesota’s Miguel Sano answered Cruz with a tiebreaking homer in the bottom of the fourth and Tyler Duffey pitched seven strong innings for his best start in more than a month to lead Minnesota.
“They hit a big homer there,” Sano said. “But I want the team win every day, and not a loss.”
Ariel Miranda (5-2) lost for the first time in five starts this month, lasting four innings and giving up three runs and three hits. Seattle fell 2 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card.
“They’re all important,” Servais said. “Tonight was important, tomorrow’s important, the next one’s important. It’s just where we are in the season.”
The Mariners threatened in the ninth against Brandon Kintzler when Robinson Cano singled and Cruz reached on an error by Sano. But Kyle Seager’s hard grounder was snared by Sano, who stepped on third and threw to first for a double play. Adam Lind flied out to end the game and give Kintzler his 15th save in 18 chances.
Seattle has struggled offensively even while winning 11 of its previous 15 games. The Mariners have scored two runs or fewer in six of their past eight games.
“We certainly need to score more than two runs,” Servais said. “Not a sharp night all around; just not a lot going on offensively. Obviously we had some chances late and didn’t get the big hit.”
NO UNDEFEATED MONTH FOR MIRANDA
Miranda was vying to become just the 14th rookie in major league history to go 5-0 in September. Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for Wade Miley at trade deadline, Miranda had allowed a total of six earned runs in four September starts.
“My secondary pitches were not very good,” Miranda said through an interpreter. “When I had a chance to throw my breaking ball, it was not working. So that’s when I threw my fastball and got hit. The fastball was a little bit up.”
Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker (6-11, 4.32 ERA) starts against Twins LHP Hector Santiago (12-9, 4.82). Walker gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Twins earlier this season. Santiago was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Mariners this season with the Los Angeles Angels. But Santiago has a 6.20 ERA in nine starts for Minnesota after being acquired in a trade.