In the blink of an eye, the Oakland A's have turned a close race in the AL West into a runaway, winning three in a row while the Texas Rangers have lost four straight, opening a six-game lead.
The mariners were fueled by Nick Franklin, their rookie second baseman, who socked a pair of homers and drove in four runs to help turn back the Twins.
After Michael Saunders hit a solo shot to tie the game at two, Franklin's first blast came in the fourth inning, a three-run belt that put the Mariners ahead for good. In the seventh, Franklin launched his second homer of the game, a solo job which completed the scoring after Minnesota had drawn to within a run.
Adding a single, Franklin finished with a 3-for-4 game. Over the last eight games, Franklin has hit safely in six, popped four homers and driven in 12 runs. Now, if the A's would only lose a few games, Seattle might make up some ground in the division.
In the six hole, Ian Desmond went 4-for-4 with two singles, a pair of doubles, three runs and two RBI. Right behind him, Denard Span was also 4-for-4, rapping out three singles and a two-run homer, scoring three times and driving in three.
Even with the win, the Nationals have their work cut out for themselves as August rapidly approaches. The Braves completed a three-game sweep of St. Louis with a 5-2 victory Sunday night, leaving Washington 8 1/2 games back, the largest lead in any major league division.
Today's Trivia: Since 2000, who is the only player to lead the NL in doubles for a season more than once? (answer tomorrow)
Yesterday's Answer: Ted Williams drove in 1839 runs in a 19-year career, but Stan Musial, who played three more seasons than Williams, tops him with 1951, sixth all-time.