Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer hits a two-run single off Seattle Mariners pitcher Jason Vargas in the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
MINNEAPOLIS — After dominating their last seven games against Minnesota, perhaps the Seattle Mariners were due for a clunker. Twins pitcher Samuel Deduno was happy to help.
Deduno dominated for seven innings, Trevor Plouffe homered and had four RBIs, and the Twins pounded the Mariners 10-0 on Wednesday night.
The normally wild Deduno (5-2) struck out a career-high nine without a walk to help the Twins snap a lengthy losing streak against Seattle and win for just the fourth time in their last 20 games overall.
After Trayvon Robinson singled with one out in the first inning, Deduno retired the next 18 hitters, all but one by ground ball or strikeout.
“Their guy was really good today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He had an incredible breaking ball and he had a feel for it. He was throwing it down on the plate and throwing it for strikes, going to both sides of the plate. He just really had a great feel for it, and really pitched a really good game.”
Kyle Seager singled up the middle to break the streak in the seventh, but Deduno got John Jaso to ground out and fanned Justin Smoak on a curveball in the dirt to end the inning.
Plouffe gave the Twins a 5-0 lead in the fourth with his 20th home run and first since returning Aug. 13 after missing 21 games with a sore thumb.
Josh Willingham hit a 432-foot homer into the second deck in left field an inning later, his 32nd of the season.
Before Wednesday’s home runs, the Twins had just one in their last 11 games.
After Jason Vargas (13-9) walked the first two hitters to start the third, Joe Mauer notched the first of his three hits and made it 2-0.
It didn’t get any better for Vargas as Justin Morneau drove in a run later in the fourth before Plouffe and Willingham went deep.
“Mauer did a pretty good job of hitting on that 3-2 pitch. Same thing with Morneau. They just fell in,” Vargas said. “It’s tough when you go 3-2 to Mauer because you’ve got to battle and you know he’s going to be able to stay in with a lot of pitches. We went with what we thought was our best pitch and he was able to put it in play and keep the inning going.”
Vargas failed to go five innings for his second straight start. He allowed six runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings, making him 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA in his last two outings. Wedge said there’s no reason for concern just yet.
“It was just command,” Wedge said. “He walked those two guys in a row and both ended up scoring there. He hasn’t had quite the same command that we’ve seen him have all year long, so a couple tough outings in a row.”
The loss was just Seattle’s fourth in its last 14 games and snapped a 16-game winning streak against teams under .500.
Deduno entered the game with a 37-to-30 walk-to-strikeout ratio, but didn’t walk anyone for the first time all season.
Seattle’s hitters flailed at the lanky right-handers curveballs in the dirt and couldn’t figure out how to elevate Deduno’s darting fastball.
“It was one of those days where you just don’t know what it is,” Robinson said. “Me, I was trying to swing at a strike and he was in the zone, but he had pretty good movement today. Tip my hat to him. He did a good job.”
After winning his first four decisions, Deduno had lost his last two, including an ugly outing in Texas last week where he allowed 11 hits and seven runs in five innings.
After managing just two runs and nine hits through the first two games of this series, Minnesota broke out with 16 hits and its highest run total since scoring nine against Detroit on Aug. 13.
“Samuel Deduno was outstanding,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Used all his pitches. Breaking balls were filthy. Fastball, I think you saw it moving all over the place, a great performance by him. We finally got him some runs to work with. A good night for us, a fun night. One we desperately needed.”
Seattle was marching back to the .500 mark before being cooled by Deduno. It was the first time the Mariners have been shut out since July 15, at Texas.