SEATTLE -- Before Wednesday's game against the struggling Minnesota Twins, the Seattle Mariners shuffled their rotation to make sure that their top three starters lined up for the weekend series with Oakland A's.

The Mariners also announced that they would use a string of relievers to pitch the finale of the Minnesota series Thursday.

The Twins then went out and reminded the Mariners that they shouldn't be overlooked.

Minnesota's dormant offense came alive in a big way, erupting for an 8-1 win over Seattle.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said afterward that his team wasn't motivated by the Mariners' decisions to focus their pitching efforts on the Oakland series.

"They have a plan, and we were just trying to do our thing tonight," Gardenhire said. "We finally put some runs on the board. We strung together some hits, some good at-bats, some walks, and we got some big hits when we had to."

Minnesota designated hitter Kendrys Morales drove in three runs, and first baseman Chris Colabello hit a two-run double in the second inning.

The Twins (41-49) won back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23.

Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (8-7) became the fifth pitcher during the past five games played at Safeco Field to come out of a start without allowing a run. He threw six shutout innings, allowing seven hits while striking out three.

"Pitching with a lead definitely helped me tonight," Gibson said. "I didn't have my best stuff tonight."

The Mariners (49-42) had 12 hits but didn't get a run across until the seventh inning, when second baseman Robinson Cano snapped the team's scoreless streak of 16 innings with a two-out, RBI single. Seattle has just seven runs over the past six games, going 2-4 in that span.

Cano had three hits for Seattle.

The Mariners ended up using four pitchers after announcing earlier in the day that they would use reliever Tom Wilhelmsen as a starter Thursday. Seattle moved ace Felix Hernandez back one day to start Friday against Oakland, and the plan was to patch together Wilhelmsen and a few other relievers to get through the Twins on Thursday.

"All in all, our bullpen is in pretty good shape," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We came through it pretty good."

The Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings, then expanded the margin to 8-0 in the fourth.

Seattle starter Roenis Elias (7-8) allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings to match the shortest start of his young career.

"Just no command," McClendon said. "The best of us have (that problem) from time to time. He has been in a funk his last couple of outings with no command of his fastball."

The Twins scored more than seven runs in a game for the first time since star first baseman Joe Maurer went on the disabled list July 2.

Morales drove in runs on each of his first three at-bats. He hit an RBI double to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the first inning, a sacrifice fly to cap off the Twins' four-run fourth and a run-scoring ground ball that got under the mitt of Seattle first baseman Logan Morrison with the bases loaded in the fourth.

Elias struggled from the outset, particularly during a second inning that saw all nine Minnesota hitters come to the plate. The first five Twins reached base in that frame, with Colabello knocking in two for a 3-0 lead. Center fielder Sam Fuld and Morales added RBIs as Minnesota piled on the rookie left-hander for a 5-0 advantage.

After Elias left the game in the fourth, Morales hit a ball that looked as if it would result in an easy out at first base. However, it went into the right field corner to score two runs, one of them unearned. Left fielder Josh Willingham added a sacrifice fly to give the Twins an 8-0 advantage.

NOTES: Seattle optioned RHP Taijuan Walker to Triple-A. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Walker was sent down to make two starts for Tacoma during the break. ... Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will start Saturday against Oakland, with RHP Chris Young pitching Sunday. Iwakuma takes the game that Walker would have started. The shuffle gives Seattle a 1-2 combination of RHP Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma in back-to-back games coming out of the All-Star break. ... The Mariners promoted RHP Stephen Pryor from Triple-A. The 24-year-old reliever spent most of the 2013 season on the disabled list after surgery to repair a torn lat muscle. ... Twins LHP Kris Johnson will be called up from Triple-A Rochester to make Friday's start at Colorado.