Felix Hernandez went eight innings Sunday in a 6-1 victory against San Diego, marking the ninth consecutive game a Mariners starting pitcher has lasted at least seven innings.
Vargas (3-2, 3.39 ERA) can help Seattle (22-24) become the first team to accomplish the feat 10 straight times since Arizona did it July 22-Aug. 1, 2002. The rotation of Hernandez, Vargas, Michael Pineda , Doug Fisher and Erik Bedard has a combined 3.05 ERA this season, but the quintet has a 0.77 ERA during this run - conceding six runs in 70 innings while striking out 68 and limiting opponents to a .160 batting average."It's been outstanding the way these guys have passed the torch to the next guy for the next start to keep it going," Wedge said. "Their focus and preparation have been outstanding."
Vargas began the streak May 12 against Baltimore, pitching nine scoreless innings before the Mariners fell 2-1 in 12. He extended his scoreless steak to 16 innings Wednesday, scattering four hits and striking out nine in a 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels .
Vargas is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his last four starts after going 0-2 with a 5.53 ERA in his first five.
The Mariners' three-game sweep of the Padres extended their win streak to five, and they have allowed two or fewer runs in seven straight games.
That doesn't bode well for Minnesota, which has lost 12 of 15 and sports the worst record in the majors at 15-30.
The Twins were swept in Arizona over the weekend after falling 3-2 on Sunday. They finished 3-4 on their road trip, which included splitting two games against Seattle last Monday and Tuesday.
Minnesota, which has played an MLB-low 15 games at home, will play their next six at Target Field.
The returns of Jim Thome and Jason Repko may be able to provide a boost for the Twins. Thome (left oblique strain) and Repko (right quad strain) will be activated from the disabled list before Monday's game, but manager Ron Gardenhire didn't make clear whether one or both will be in the lineup."Thome for sure will be another big bat in the lineup," Gardenhire said. "Repko is an outfielder who plays everywhere."
The Twins are second-worst in the AL with a .232 overall batting average - ahead of only the Mariners, who are hitting .230. If Minnesota can solve Vargas, it may be able to snap its slump if Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.30 ERA) can keep Seattle at bay.
Pavano hasn't won since beating Cleveland on April 24, though he's pitched well in his last two starts. The right-hander pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings May 13 against Toronto, then followed that performance by allowing one earned run through seven innings Wednesday against Oakland.
Pavano lost both starts against the Mariners in 2010, going seven innings in each and allowing six runs combined.
Seattle does not have a single player in the lineup hitting above .300, with Ichiro Suzuki batting a team-best .290. He is 3 for 13 (.231) with a homer in his career against Pavano.
The Twins have won 10 of the last 13 meetings in Minnesota.