SEATTLE - Rookie Denard Span drove in a career-high four runs and robbed Adrian Beltre of a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Wednesday.
Minnesota won the final game of the series against the AL's worst team and moved within one-half game of Central-leading Chicago. The White Sox later hosted Detroit.
The Twins had blown leads of 6-0 and 2-0 in the first two games of the series to fall out of first place. They would have blown a 4-0 edge in this one without the new leadoff whiz who's quickly become known as "Span Man."
Nick Blackburn (9-6), who began 2007 at Double-A New Britain, allowed three runs in six innings to tie Detroit's Armando Galarraga for most wins by an AL rookie.
Beltre had two hits and two RBIs for Seattle. The Mariners were denied a season-high fourth consecutive win and first three-game sweep of an AL team in their lost season.
The Twins led 4-3 in the seventh when Raul Ibanez, who had a Seattle record-tying 14 RBIs in three games before going without one Wednesday, singled with two outs.
Reliever Jesse Crain relieved Dennys Reyes, and Beltre hit a drive toward the right-field bleachers. Span sprinted to the wall, leaped and snared the ball just before it hit a railing and screen protecting fans in the first row.
The ball juggled around inside Span's glove as he triumphantly landed on the warning track. Beltre stood at disbelief between first and second base for more than a minute, his hands frozen to his hips through the inning change.
Brandon Harris' two-run double off Mark Lowe in the eighth and Span's third hit, an RBI infield single off Jared Wells, later in the inning made the Twins more comfortable for their flight to Kansas City for an off-day.
Span could have had a fifth RBI, but Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn (5-11) scrambled to make a lunging flip just in time to first base on Span's drag bunt with Harris at third and two outs in the fourth.
Span struck out looking to begin the game. But in the third, he hit Washburn's poorly placed 0-2 floater into the right-field corner for a triple. It was Span's 14th hit of the season, and eighth for extra bases.
Washburn allowed five hits and four runs - three earned - in six innings. He struck out six and walked three. Washburn has one win in his last six starts.