MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Blake Beavan was smiling.
A 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins couldn't detract from postgame humor, not with Seattle Mariners' rookies forced to wear costumes for the team's flight to Texas.
After the game, Beavan found in his locker the outfit of Ace, one half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo from the television show ``Saturday Night Live.' Other rookies' getups included Captain America, a clown and a fairy.
Beavan didn't get a decision despite allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings, his 11th quality start in 14 career outings.
``It was cold out there today, so it was kind of hard to get my arm going, but I still had good life on the ball regardless of velocity,' he said. ``If I can locate on both sides of the plate I know I'm going to have a good chance of going deep into a ballgame.'
The 22-year-old Beavan is 2-1 in his past six starts. In his last three, he's allowed just five earned runs in 21 1-3 innings. He hasn't issued a walk in 24 1-3 innings.
``For a young pitcher - and I think we sometimes forget how young he is - he does a great job with his fastball. He's a big kid so he can leverage the ball downhill, he can climb if he needs to and that curveball and changeup continue to get better,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``He continues to throw with more and more confidence.'
Besides his fastball, the 6-foot-7 Beavan relied more on his slider and mixed in an improving curveball.
``It's two times better than it was even before I got called up when I started working on it. I didn't use it a whole lot today,' he said. ``Later in the game I dropped a couple in there just to put it in the back of their mind.'
Rene Tosoni's RBI double off Steve Delabar (1-1) with two outs in the ninth ended Minnesota's 11-game losing streak and sent Seattle to its 13th walkoff loss, the most in team history.
Winning for just the second time in 17 games, the Twins stopped the third-longest skid since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961.
Trevor Plouffe drew a two-out walk, and Tosoni followed with a drive that hopped off the right-field wall. Plouffe slid home, easily beating the relay.
``I got in a situation where I put a guy on for free and then I leave a pitch up and a guy hits it like he's supposed to,' Delabar said.
Joe Nathan (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win after getting out of his own trouble. The Mariners stranded 12 runners, including the potential go-ahead run at third in the ninth when Wily Mo Pena flied out.
``Finishing off innings is big separator for a good ball club,' Wedge said.
The Mariners won the first two games of the series by 5-4 scores, and both teams had their chances late in this one.
Ichiro Suzuki grounded back to reliever Glen Perkins with the bases loaded, ending the Seattle eighth. The Twins threatened in the bottom half before Michael Cuddyer hit into a double play against Delabar.
After what Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire called a ``flop' in his previous start, Anthony Swarzak came back with a six strong innings, allowing two runs on nine hits.
Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak, working his way back from a strained right groin that caused him to miss four games last week, tied his career high with seven hits.
``I want to finish the season strong. I don't want to finish hurt,' he said. ``I feel I ran a little better and my timing is starting to get there.'
NOTES: Seattle OF Casper Wells (nose) was to see a doctor about sinus trouble. He's expected to be with the team this weekend for a series at Texas. ... Seattle C Chris Gimenez snapped an 0-for-13 streak with hits in his first two at_bats. ... Seattle LHP Anthony Vasquez (1-4, 8.25) will be making his sixth career start on Friday in the opener at Texas. Vasquez lasted just three-plus innings in his last start also against Texas. He gave up five runs and seven hits and allowed home runs to Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus.
The Associated Press News Service
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