Franklin's shaky start too much to overcome

Minnesota snapped Seattle's streak of series wins at four, taking two of three from the Mariners over the weekend. They also handed Seattle its first back-to-back losses since May 7th and 8th against the New York Yankees.

A slow start for Seattle starting pitcher Ryan Franklin proved fatal for the Mariners Sunday as the Mariners fell behind early and never recovered, losing 3-1 at Safeco Field.

The game, chosen by ESPN as the "Sunday Night Game of the Week," was broadcast to a national audience.

Franklin (3-3) gave his only two runs in the first two innings, but by the time he settled down the damage was already done. The small two-run cushion was all Minnesota needed behind a strong performance from veteran Rick Reed (3-5).

Reed pitched 7 innings, bringing Minnesota's record to 29-20. Seattle dropped to 31-18.

Both teams still remain atop their respective divisions.

Seattle's only run on the night came from one of the team's hottest hitters, Bret Boone. The stocky second-basemen led off the seventh inning with his 12 homer of the season. That would be it for the Mariners, however.

Reed handed it over to the scorching Minnesota bullpen for the final two innings. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless eighth and Eddie Guardado came on in the ninth and recorded is 13th save.

Twins' outfielder Bobby Kielty provided the first run of the game off of Franklin, shooting an RBI single through the infield to score leadoff-hitter Jacque Jones. Franklin walked three in the first inning and eventually got himself into a bases-loaded situation with only one out.

Before Minnesota could do any further damage, he got out of it with a double-play. And against Minnesota, a double-play isn't just a "twin killing," it's a "twin twin killing."

Right fielder Dustin Mohr added another run an inning later, however, when he took the first pitch he saw in the second over the right field fence for a 2-0 Twins advantage.

The Twins added a little insurance in the eighth after two men were already out. Bobby Kielty walked, stole second base, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Torii Hunter single up the middle off of Mariners releiver Jeff Nelson.

Down two, the Mariners threatened with a comeback in the ninth after a Boone double. Edgar Martinez came to the plate to face Guardado, and the Twins reliable closer needed 11 pitches to get the 40-year-old designated hitter to fly out deep to right field.

Edgar's fly ball allowed Boone to advance to third with two outs, as the tying run stepped to the plate in John Olerud. Olerud jumped on the first pitch, flying out to center to end the game.

Richie Stone hails from the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, where there are more fans at the local Walmart than at Braves playoff games. He can be reached at

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