SEATTLE — Samuel Deduno is on the mound, Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau hears a litany of complaints from opponents.
"Guys, if they ever do get to first, say, 'Man, I don't know what to look for off this guy,'" Morneau said. "And then it's got so much movement they can't get locked in on anything. You rarely see guys square the ball up off him. It's fun watching him pitch. He's got some great intensity."
Deduno kept the Seattle Mariners off balance for seven scoreless innings Saturday and Morneau and Brian Dozier each homered to lead the Twins to a 4-0 victory.
Deduno (7-4) allowed three hits, walked three and tied his season high with six strikeouts. He has thrown seven innings in each of his last three starts, all wins, and has a 1.29 ERA in that span. Saturday, he had his pitches working early as he struck out two in each of the first two innings.
"You can see their hitters, there were balls they were swinging and then looking back trying to see where the ball went, and that tells you his ball's really moving," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
In three career starts against Seattle, Deduno has allowed only two earned runs over 20 innings.
"He's got real life on his ball," Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said. "He's effectively wild at times, and he has really good stuff."
In the rare cases where Seattle was able to put some men on base, the Twins defense came through for Deduno. In the fourth, Deduno walked two but a double play ended the inning. In the seventh, Gardenhire kept Deduno in even after he gave up a one-out single to Kyle Seager and walked Justin Smoak, and the confidence was rewarded when Deduno got Endy Chavez to ground into a double play.
"That makes me very excited. I said to myself, 'I can do it because they believe in me,'" Deduno said. "They've done it a couple times, leave me in the seventh inning, and if I get in trouble I make the pitches."
Once Deduno left, relievers Josh Roenicke, Jared Burton and Anthony Swarzak preserved the Twins' fifth shutout of the season. Minnesota has won four of its last six games — all on the road — and has a chance to win its fourth straight series when it concludes the four-game set against Seattle on Sunday.
Aaron Harang (5-9) threw 107 pitches in five innings, the ninth time in 17 starts he has gone five innings or less. Harang gave up one run on three hits, struck out five and walked two.
Morneau led off the fourth with a double for the Twins' first hit. With one out, Chris Colabello hit a shallow pop fly to right field that fell between the Mariners' defenders, and Morneau scored on Clete Thomas' groundout, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Reliever Charlie Furbush came on in the sixth inning. After getting two quick outs, Furbush gave up a single and walked two to load the bases. Yoervis Medina came on and walked Aaron Hicks, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Medina had more trouble in the seventh. Dozier led off the inning with his ninth home run and Morneau hit a solo shot with one out to knock Medina out of the game.
"Not a lot of offense, but a couple of big homers extended the lead," Gardenhire said. "It was just kind of one of those hold-on-ers — we played good defense, made the plays we had to and went from there."
Medina has given up three home runs in his last two appearances after also allowing a homer to Colabello on Friday night. He had not allowed any home runs in his previous 36 appearances.
Seager and Brad Miller each had two hits for the Mariners, who have lost three of four.
Both teams had issues with missed opportunities. The Twins were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10, while Seattle was 0 for 8 and left seven men on base.