Seattle Mariners defeat Minnesota Twins, 7-1

SEATTLE - If Twins fans were surprised to see Michael Cuddyer playing second base Monday, imagine how Francisco Liriano felt.

The first batter the lefthander faced, Ichiro Suzuki, hit a ground ball to second.

"I was like, 'What's Michael doing here?'" Liriano said. "I didn't know he was playing second, so I was really surprised."

Manager Ron Gardenhire has been improvising with starting second baseman Orlando Hudson out because of a left wrist injury. Hudson, who ...

SEATTLE - Twins closer Jon Rauch entered Tuesday with 13 saves in 15 attempts, but he'd given up at least one run in three of his past five outings.

Asked if he was getting concerned, manager Ron Gardenhire said, "He's getting saves. Just don't let them score enough to tie you or beat you."

Rauch has had some stiffness in his right hamstring, but refuses to use it as an excuse.

"It doesn't affect my throwing at all," Rauch said.

Or, as Gardenhire said, "It does...

SEATTLE - The Twins had no answer for soft-tossing Mariners lefthander Jason Vargas on Tuesday night, as their five-game winning streak crumbled against a slew of 86-miles-per-hour fastballs and 78-mph changeups.

After a brilliant May, Nick Blackburn turned in his shortest start of the season, and the Mariners cruised to a 7-1 victory at Safeco Field.

Now comes the hard part. The Twins' next two games come against Seattle's All-Star pitching duo of Cliff Lee and Feli...