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Blackburn Roughed Up Early Again, Mariners Edge Twins 5-3

Here is this week's picture of the guy who hit a home run off of Nick Blackburn in the first inning.  Congratulations, John Jaso.
Here is this week's picture of the guy who hit a home run off of Nick Blackburn in the first inning. Congratulations, John Jaso.

The Twins starters, outside of Scott Diamond, have made a disturbing habit lately of digging the Twins an early hole to get out of. Nick Blackburn continued this ugly trend on Friday night, surrendering a 2-run home run in the first to the Mariners' John Jaso and setting the tone for another Minnesota loss, this one a 5-1 defeat to Seattle at Safeco Field.

The Mariners added a solo home run from Miguel Olivo in the third to extend the lead to 3-0. Meanwhile, Hisashi Iwakuma picked up where Felix Hernandez left off, opening the game with four perfect innings. That gave the Mariners 42 consecutive outs, which, per Joe C., Rhett B., and others on Twitter, was the most in a row since 1974.

The Twins finally got to Iwakuma in the 5th on Justin Morneau's lead-off double. Morneau would later score on an RBI single by brand new Twin Matt Carson, but despite loading the bases with just one out, that would be the only run they scored. Iwakuma struck out brand new Twin Pedro Florimon and not-as-brand-new-but-still-newish Darin Mastroianni to get out of the jam. Iwakuma pitched seven strong innings, giving up just the one run on three hits.

Blackburn steadied himself for a bit, but the Mariners tagged him again in the 6th, scoring two more runs and knocking him out of the game in favor of weird-looking half-man half-giant Tyler Robertson. Nick's night: five runs, 11 hits, and he just looks lost. I know they need to see if there's something there that they can use in 2013, and I know they're hesitant to bring Liam Hendriks back up, but...this can't be fun for him, and it sure isn't fun to watch.

Iwakuma gave way to Stephen Pryor, who promptly recorded two outs, then promptly gave up back-to-back dongs to Joe Mauer (8) and the Yes Pig (31). Lucas Luetge, which is probably a made-up name, came in and got Morneau to fly out on the first pitch to end the inning. Tom Wilhelmsen came on to get a 1-2-3 9th.

Studs: Carson; Mauer and Willingham; Trevor Plouffe for getting his first hit since coming off the DL; and Audie Cole for returning two interceptions for touchdowns in the Vikings preseason game.

Mixed bag: Florimon. The aforementioned strikeout, but he made a Web Gem-worthy, backhanded catch on a pop fly going towards left field in the 7th.

Duds: Blackburn.

Hey, I'm doing the game thread and recap tomorrow, too, so I'll see you guys then. Enjoy your Saturday.