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Hunter's bases-loaded walk in ninth keys Twins' sweep

May 30, 2007 - 10:53 PM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Torii Hunter did not even have to take the bat off his shoulder to lift the Minnesota Twins past the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central standings.

Hunter drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning as the Twins completed a sweep of the White Sox with a 7-6 victory on Wednesday.

After Boone Logan got Justin Morneau to pop up in foul territory with the bases loaded for the second out of the inning, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen decided to call on righthander David Aardsma to face Hunter.

Rushed to warm up in the bullpen, Aardsma clearly did not look ready as he was not close with any of his four pitches, forcing in Jason Tyner to end the game.

"He couldn't find the strike zone," Hunter said. "If I swing right there, somebody should call the police.

"I wanted to put the bat on the ball, but it was out of the strike zone. I don't think he was warm, and he couldn't find the strike zone."

With its fourth straight win and the seventh in eight games, Minnesota (27-25) jumped past Chicago (24-24) for third place in the AL Central.

The game-deciding free pass continued a troubling trend for the White Sox, who issued eight walks on Wednesday and 21 in the series.

"I don't think it is Aardsma's fault, or this guy's fault," Guillen said. "I think it was everyone on the mound's fault. The only one that threw the ball good all week was (Matt) Thornton. Everybody else did not throw the ball good."

Ironically, it was a walk that started the Twins' rally in the ninth, as Tyner worked one with one out from Mike MacDougal (1-2).

Minnesota then got a lucky break as a ground ball by Nick Punto was not converted into a double play by Chicago after first baseman Paul Konerko's throw to second base deflected off Tyner before hitting shortstop Alex Cintron.

"It was just a bad throw, it wasn't really a fluke," Konerko said. "It's a throw I have made a million times. I have got to make that play."

Michael Cuddyer followed with an infield single to the hole on the left side to load the bases.

Morneau then popped up the first pitch he saw, but Hunter was able to make up for an earlier shortcoming with a keen eye. The Gold Glove winning center fielder had a chance to snap the 6-6 tie for the Twins in the seventh, but struck out with runners on first and third.

Closer Joe Nathan (2-1) picked up the win after after working a perfect top of the ninth, following up on a five combined scoreless frames from relievers Jason Miller, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek.

"The only thing that the bullpen can do is to go out there and try to put zeros up and see if we can pick away at the lead," Nathan said. "The way we have been playing, we are confident that our guys are going to start swinging the bats, and they did today.

"When we got this thing tied, we definitely didn't want to be the ones to let them down after they fought their way back."

The bullpen needed to coming up with an impressive effort after starter Scott Baker was hammered for six runs and 10 hits in three innings.

The White Sox, who have lost their last four games, got off to a strong start, as an RBI double by Joe Crede and two-run single by Tadahito Iguchi in the second supplied a 4-0 lead.

That advantage grew to 6-1 in the third on a two-run homer by Rob Mackowiak.

Thanks to the walks, including five from Chicago starter Jon Garland, Minnesota rallied, slicing the deficit to two runs when Morneau lofted a sacrifice fly and Hunter delivered a two-run double in the third.

"That was straight "piranha" right there," said Hunter referring to the nickname given by Guillen to some of Minnesota's pesky hitters. "We are just doing what we have to do. We have a bunch of guys that don't hit home runs, so these guys are doing what they do well."

The Twins continued to climb back, eventually tying the score at 6-6 in the sixth after Jeff Cirillo plated a run on a ground out and Chris Heintz hit an RBI single.

Garland finished with all six runs allowed and five hits in six innings.

"I put this loss on myself," Garland said. "I got spotted six runs. I gave it back to them. It should never happen, it did tonight."






  • 65
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    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 10:46 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 10 0
    MINNESOTA 0 1 3 0 0 2 0 0 6 6 0 (BOT 9)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHA - MATT THORNTON
    MIN - JOE NATHAN

    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.243, 0-FOR-2, BB)
    J TYNER (.264, 0-FOR-4)
    N PUNTO (.238, 0-FOR-1, 3 BB)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 4:13 PM
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    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 4:13 PM


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

    BATTERIES: CHA - JON GARLAND, MATT THORNTON (7TH), MIKE MACDOUGAL (9TH), BOONE
    LOGAN (9TH), DAVID AARDSMA (9TH) AND TOBY HALL, A.J.
    PIERZYNSKI (9TH)
    MIN - SCOTT BAKER, JASON

    May 30 4:00 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO TORII HUNTER SCORED JASON TYNER.
    FINAL SCORE: MINNESOTA 7, CHI WHITE SOX 6

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 4:00 PM
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    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 4:00 PM
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    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 3:34 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHRIS HEINTZ SCORED TORII HUNTER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C HEINTZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6
    MINNESOTA 6 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.245, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 3:03 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JEFF CIRILLO SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HUNTER ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6
    MINNESOTA 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: C HEINTZ (.176, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 3:01 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY TORII HUNTER SCORED NICK PUNTO AND MICHAEL
    CUDDYER.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, T HUNTER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.242, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 2:19 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CUDDYER ON FIRST, N PUNTO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.312, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 2:19 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ROB MACKOWIAK (2) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH
    2 OUT IN THE 3RD OFF SCOTT BAKER SCORED PAUL KONERKO.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6, MINNESOTA 1
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J CREDE (.230, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 2:02 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEFF CIRILLO SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CIRILLO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 4
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: C HEINTZ (.200, 0 HR, 2 RBI)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 1:48 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TADAHITO IGUCHI SCORED JOE CREDE AND ALEX
    CINTRON.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, 0 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 4
    MINNESOTA 0 END TOP, 2ND

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 1:39 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOE CREDE SCORED ROB MACKOWIAK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CREDE ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: A CINTRON (.204, 0 HR, 4 RBI)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 1:33 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHA - JON GARLAND
    MIN - SCOTT BAKER

    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J TYNER (.276, 0 HR, 11 RBI)
    N PUNTO (.240, 0 HR, 10 RBI)
    M CUDDYER (.298, 7 HR, 37 RBI)

    White Sox vs. TwinsMay 30 1:21 PM