M's break though late as Twins lose 11th straight

MINNEAPOLIS -- Most of the current Minnesota Twins weren't alive the last time the team struggled this badly. Kevin Slowey even dipped into Greek mythology to describe the frustration.

Ichiro Suzuki stopped Slowey's no-hitter with a two-out infield single in the sixth inning and added an RBI double in the seventh, spurring the Seattle Mariners to a 5-4 victory Wednesday night in Minnesota, the 11th straight defeat for the Twins.

"At this point in this clubhouse, it's like we're watching the fate of Sisyphus himself. Get to the top of that hill and just can't seem to figure it out, so it's been pretty tough," Slowey said, referencing the mythical king who, the story went, was punished for eternity by pushing a boulder up a steep hill only to watch it roll back down to the bottom each time.

This is the third-longest losing streak in Minnesota's 51-season history, behind a 14-game skid in 1982 and the 13 in a row they dropped in 1961, the first year here after the franchise moved west from Washington.

The Twins (59-95) still need two more wins to top their worst finish in Minnesota, 60-102 in 1982, and they've already secured the third-worst record the club has ever had.

With dozens of millions of dollars in high-salaried players long done for the season due to a variety of injuries, this pieced-together bunch of middling prospects, former first-round draft picks and the few veterans healthy enough to play has been figuratively banging their heads against the wall trying to end this September slide and finish on a less-dour note.

"I'd much rather win than get three or four hits," said rookie first baseman Chris Parmelee, who had three more hits, including an RBI single. He's batting .413 with nine RBIs in 13 games since being brought up from Double-A New Britain.

Mariners closer Brandon League, who escaped a ninth-inning, no-out, bases-loaded situation to preserve the win the night before, gave up a two-out RBI single to Trevor Plouffe before retiring Brian Dinkelman on a roller in front of the plate with two runners on.

League has 36 saves in 41 attempts this season. This was the first run he's allowed against the Twins in 16 innings.

Trayvon Robinson's two-run, two-out single in the seventh inning gave the Mariners the lead and sent Slowey (0-7) off the mound. He has lost all seven starts since he was recalled from Triple-A and reinserted in the rotation he helped anchor the past three-plus years. The right-hander began the season in the bullpen, got hurt and was sent to the minors to rehabilitate until returning a month ago.

Suzuki was the only baserunner to reach over the first five innings, when the shortstop Plouffe dropped the ball for an error while taking it out of his glove to start his throw. Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley followed Suzuki's single in the sixth with consecutive sharply hit doubles, and Slowey's lead was suddenly gone.

Slowey hasn't walked a batter in his last 22 innings, and he struck out six, but this was another familiar start -- breezing through the early innings and hitting a big bump.

"I'm going to look at the first five innings and try to repeat that. We're running out of time. I'm running out of time," he said.

Plouffe grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with no outs and the bases loaded in the fifth against reliever Jeff Gray, and Dinkelman grounded out to end that inning. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was upset that Plouffe wasn't more patient.

"That guy was in trouble, and we took him right out of trouble," Gardenhire said.

The Twins went 4 for 18 with runners in scoring position, and they're 24 for 151 -- a .159 batting average -- while losing 16 of their last 17 games.

Mariners starter Michael Pineda, in his final appearance of what has been a fine rookie season, gave up six hits, two walks and two runs while striking out two over four innings. He threw 81 pitches.

This was Pineda's 28th start, and the 22-year-old Dominican finished with 173 strikeouts in 171 innings with a 3.74 ERA.

"I'm very, very proud of me, because I finished strong," Pineda said.

The Twins won't be able to say that about this season.

Game notes
The Twins passed the 3 million mark in paid attendance for the second straight season and the third in franchise history. Their first was 1988. ... Of the 29 players suited up for this series for the Mariners, 17 of them weren't with the team when they visited Minnesota in May. ... RH Anthony Swarzak (3-7) pitches for the Twins in the series finale, the last day game of the season at Target Field, against Mariners RH Blake Beavan (5-5). Beavan is coming off an eight-inning shutout victory over division-leading Texas. Swarzak hasn't won since Aug. 3.