for this game

Cuddyer, Hunter team up to lead Twins over Jays

May 26, 2007 - 4:23 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Normally its Justin Morneau's 400-plus feet moon shots that are difference makers for the Minnesota Twins. On Friday, it was a three-foot swinging bunt.

Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer and Torii Hunter took advantage of an error on Morneau's dribbler with an RBI single as the Minnesota Twins edged the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, on Friday in the first of a three-game series.

Luis Castillo went 2-for-3 with three runs scored for Minnesota, which won its third consecutive game.

"You like to get a few breaks here and there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Morneau getting a swinging bunt, the guy, obviously with a man out there on second base, panicked and took his eyes off the ball and didn't pick it up."

With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh inning, Toronto reliever Scott Downs (1-1) induced a two-out short roller from Morneau with Castillo on second base. But Downs could not pick up the ball cleanly and was charged with an error as Morneau made it to first base without a throw.

Hunter hit Downs' next offering through the hole on the right side of the infield, allowing Castillo to score the eventual winning run. Hunter is hitting .429 with two outs and runners in scoring position this year.

"I'm just lucky," Hunter said upon hearing that statistic.

Matt Guerrier (1-1) threw 1 2/3 innings of relief for his first win since September 23 and just the second win of his career. With Minnesota's bullpen struggling with injuries, Guerrier has stepped up - throwing 10 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in his last six appearances.

"Matt's been huge for us," Cuddyer said. "He can go short, he can go long. Tonight he came in and did it again."

Pat Neshek worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth inning and Joe Nathan struck out Lyle Overbay with runners on the corners and two outs to earn his 10th save in 11 chances this season.

The Blue Jays got to Twins starter Scott Baker early, loading the bases on a hit and two walks in the first inning to set up Matt Stairs' two-out two-RBI single. But Baker, making just his second start this season, settled down from there, allowing just three more baserunners through five innings.

Baker has been solid in both his starts after struggling to a 5-8 record with a 6.37 ERA in 16 starts last season.

"I kind of told myself coming in here that I'm a different pitcher and a different person," Baker said. "Knowing that, whatever happens in that first inning, you just try to get to that sixth, seventh inning and if you're able to do that you did your job."

But Baker's night ended with one out in the sixth inning after giving up a line-drive solo home run to Frank Thomas and walking Stairs. Thomas knotted the score at three with his seventh home run this season and 494th of his career.

Minnesota cut Toronto's early lead in half, when Castillo scored on a two-out single by Morneau in the bottom of the first inning. Castillo reached when Toronto rookie starter Jesse Litsch couldn't cleanly field his leadoff bunt.

"Two balls in front of the plate and we didn't handle either one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They both led to runs. You never know what happens, but the two baserunners go on to score. We're a very good defensive team. But both those were costly."

Toronto rookie starter Jesse Litsch weaved his way in-and-out of trouble the next three innings before Cuddyer lofted a pitch over the fence down the left field line, ending Litsch's night.

Litsch, making just his third career start, allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk in 4 1/3 innings. After winning his first start, Litsch has gone 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA, allowing 15 hits and striking out just one in his last two outings.

"He did what he needed to do, we just couldn't get the big hit," Gibbons said. "He's a young kid. He battled, ended up getting a big double play to get out of the fourth. Considering where he's coming from - a kid coming out of Double-A - I think he's done a pretty darn good job."

Alex Rios was the only Blue Jays starter with multiple hits, as he went 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 8 1
    MINNESOTA 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 x 4 10 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - JESSE LITSCH, BRIAN TALLET (5TH), SCOTT DOWNS (7TH), JASON
    FRASOR (7TH) AND JASON PHILLIPS
    MIN - SCOTT BAKER, MATT GUERRIER (6TH), PAT NESHEK
    (8TH), JOE NATH

    May 25 11:06 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 10:51 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TORII HUNTER SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HUNTER ON FIRST, J MORNEAU ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.315, 2-FOR-3)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 10:26 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY FRANK THOMAS (7) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF SCOTT BAKER.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3, MINNESOTA 3
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: M STAIRS (.315, 1-FOR-2, 2 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 9:52 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MICHAEL CUDDYER (6) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 5TH OFF JESSE LITSCH SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2, MINNESOTA 3
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.285, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 9:41 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MORNEAU ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.315, 11 HR, 40 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 8:36 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 2 2 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - JESSE LITSCH
    MIN - SCOTT BAKER

    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.329, 0 HR, 7 RBI)
    J CIRILLO (.209, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
    M CUDDYER (.269, 5 HR, 29 RBI

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsMay 25 8:27 PM