Back-to-back homers propel Twins past Mariners

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer doesn't hit many home runs -- just 47 since he broke into the big leagues in 2004.

So when he went deep in consecutive games for the first time since 2005, Mauer could only laugh when his bigger, badder buddy -- Justin Morneau -- did the same thing right behind him just to show it's not as hard as Mauer sometimes makes it look.

Mauer and Morneau hit back-to-back homers for the second straight night and Minnesota roughed up Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in a 9-6 victory over the Mariners on Saturday.

"I hit a home run, it doesn't happen a whole lot," Mauer said with a wide grin. "Then he's got to go back and show everybody that he can do it too. I always give him a hard time, saying, 'Hey, look at me, I can do it too.' It's all in fun."

Mauer had two hits and three RBIs and Michael Cuddyer added a 427-foot, three-run homer off Sean White in the fifth inning. Joe Nathan picked up his fifth save in six chances.

Hernandez (4-2) gave up six runs -- five earned -- and six hits in four innings for the Mariners, who have lost six in a row.

After they both went deep in the fifth inning of an 11-0 win on Friday night, the Twins' version of M&M Boys did it again against Hernandez in the third for an early 4-0 lead. Mauer is 10 for 16 (.625) with two homers and six RBIs against Hernandez in his career.

"He's supposed to be the guy who wins batting titles and I'm supposed to be the guy who hits homers," Morneau said with a big chuckle. "It's good to see. Anytime he's hitting homers, we're doing all right."

Francisco Liriano (2-4) was perfect through three innings. But he hit Ichiro Suzuki to start the fourth and appeared to deflate a little after that. He allowed five runs and six hits in five innings.

Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre had three hits and two RBIs, including his first homer since Sept. 7, a span of 35 games and 151 plate appearances. Mike Sweeney added a two-run shot.

Seattle twice had Liriano on the ropes. Yuniesky Betancourt popped out with the bases loaded in the fourth. Beltre tried to steal third with one out in the fifth and was easily thrown out by the Gold Glover Mauer to snuff out a potential rally.

"Just another tough loss," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We've got to be able to get out of the gate and kind of combine the hitting and the pitching and go forward."

Just over a week ago, the Mariners were the surprise of baseball with a 3 1/2-game lead in the AL West. But they have lost 10 of their last 13 games, and fell behind early again on Saturday.

After giving up six runs and 10 hits in a loss to Texas on Monday, things got off to an ominous start for King Felix against the Twins. Leadoff hitter Denard Span hit a high pop fly that left fielder Wladimir Balentien lost in the baseball-colored roof. Span raced to second for a double and Matt Tolbert walked.

Hernandez then threw a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance before Mauer doubled down the right-field line to make it 2-0.

"We're on a five-game losing streak and I just wanted to win the game for the team, and no," a frustrated Hernandez said.

Mauer is making up for lost time in a hurry. After missing the first 22 games with a back injury, Mauer made his season debut on May 1 and homered with his first swing. He is hitting .483 (14 for 29) with three doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in eight games.

And after hitting just 19 homers in their first 29 games, the Twins have hit seven in the last two.

"I think I feel good, I feel strong," Mauer said. "I'm just trying not to do too much."

Game notes
The Twins played their second straight game without 3B Joe Crede (hamstring). He said he will be ready by Tuesday's opener against Detroit. ... The two-time Gold Glover Beltre made two errors, one a throwing miscue in the fourth that allowed Cuddyer to score. ... Wakamatsu and a team trainer visited the mound to check on Hernandez in the fourth inning, but he remained in the game. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was feeling ill early in the game and watched the final six innings from his office.