Byron Buxton buzzing along as Twins wrap Seattle series

Sometimes, it pays to simplify.

That, and coffee, of course.

Since embracing what he called a “see ball, hit ball” philosophy earlier this month, Minnesota’s Byron Buxton has been on a tear.

Buxton had a double, home run and four RBIs Saturday night as the Twins won 5-1 at Seattle. The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Since June 7, Buxton is batting .364 with five homers and 18 RBIs, raising his season average from .221 to .265.

“Once you figure out what you don’t have to search for the whole time going into the (batting) cage, not spending 40 minutes on that one little piece you’re trying to figure out it kind of simplifies the game a little bit more,” said Buxton, who quipped he’s been spending his new-found free time before games relaxing with a cup of coffee. “When I say, ‘see ball, hit ball,’ it’s more just about simplifying it to just go out there and have a quality at-bat.”

Buxton’s three-run shot in the sixth inning Saturday gave the Twins homers in 18 consecutive games, tying a franchise record. It was his eighth of the season and the fourth over his past five games.

“He’s finding ways to just have good at-bats, put himself in good counts,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But the swing, I’ve said a couple of times before, looks very synched up. It looks very tight and it’s very impactful. He’s finding the barrel and the ball just really takes off when he’s putting good swings on the ball.”

Despite missing 14 games in May with inflammation in his right knee, the oft-injured Buxton, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 MLB draft, is on pace to play in more than 100 games for just the second time in his 10 major-league seasons.

“It definitely feels good to be in a good position, feel that confidence and be the person that you know you should be,” Buxton said.

Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, who lost for just the second time in 11 home games this month.

The Mariners managed only six hits and struck out 15 times. Despite scratching out a 3-2 victory in 10 innings in the series opener Friday, Seattle is 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position over the past two games.

“Not our best night at the plate, obviously,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We continue to struggle there. But we have a chance to win the series (Sunday).”

The Mariners have won nine consecutive series at home, two shy of the franchise record set in 2001-02.

The Twins are scheduled to send Joe Ryan (5-5, 3.31 ERA) to the mound Sunday against Seattle’s Luis Castillo (6-9, 3.79), a fellow right-hander.

Ryan is 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners. Castillo is 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA in six previous appearances against the Twins, including a 3-1 loss May 6 in Minneapolis despite allowing just two earned runs on a pair of hits over six innings.

–Field Level Media