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Twins
3 - 7 Final
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Hunter leads fourth-inning rally as Twins edge Braves

Jun 13, 2007 - 6:02 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Torii Hunter wreaked havoc with his bat and his legs, sparking a five-run fourth inning as the Minnesota Twins posted a 7-3 triumph over the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.

The Twins won their second straight game and three out of five after losing four straight last week. They improved to 4-3 in interleague play by taking the first of a three-game series with the Braves in a rematch of the 1991 World Series.

Hunter doubled home a pair of runs, stole third base and trotted home on a throwing error to lead a fourth-inning comeback, giving Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey all the run support he would need in his first career home start.

The center fielder also played his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense with a pair of tough running catches.

"Hunter can play, we all know that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You take it for granted with some of these guys because you see them do it every night. He's one of those guys. He's a great player."

Slowey (2-0) was good enough to earn his second straight win in his third career start, giving up three runs and seven hits with one strikeout in six innings.

The righthander's only problem this season has been the long ball, as Scott Thorman hit a solo homer in the fifth inning - the fourth blast allowed by Slowey in 17 frames.

But Gardenhire isn't too concerned.

"He's throwing strikes, moving it in and out and you'll give up a home run here or there," Gardenhire said. "That's going to happen, you've got to keep the damage to a minimum. The good thing for him is he's able to pitch out of a jam when he gets in one."

The 23-year-old Slowey said he was more comfortable pitching in his first home start even though he had never pitched in the Metrodome.

"I didn't feel quite as jumpy out there," Slowey said. "I kept throwing strikes. I kept attacking and the guys played great defense behind me."

Braves starter Kyle Davies also felt comfortable. In fact, manager Bobby Cox said "that was the best I've ever seen him throw the ball."

That is, up to when he got Joe Mauer to fly out to lead off the fourth inning, the 10th straight batter retired by Davies.

"He couldn't have looked any better up to that point, period," Cox said.

But Davies walked Michael Cuddyer after getting ahead in the count, then did the same with Justin Morneau after getting ahead 0-2. Hunter followed by blasting a 3-1 pitch on a hit-and-run play off the baggie in right-center field for a two-run double.

Hunter took off for third base on the next at-bat, and when Brian McCann's throw to Pete Orr bounced in front of the bag and into left field, he scored easily. It was McCann's seventh error of the season.

The rally continued as Mike Redmond and Nick Punto sandwiched Lew Ford's flyout with singles and Jason Bartlett loaded the bases with an infield single down the third base line. Luis Castillo capped the inning with a two-run base hit up the middle, ending Davies' night.

"We've got to manufacture runs and we were able to do that," Cuddyer said. "Two walks and Torii comes up big. We were able to get some momentum from that."

Davies (3-5) was hit hard for the third time in his last four starts, failing to make it through the fourth for the first time this season.

"If I could take the two sliders I threw to Cuddyer back it might have been a different ballgame," Davies said. "I probably had the best stuff I've had."

Davies was spotted a 1-0 lead in the second on Jeff Francoeur's eighth homer of the season and had retired 10 straight batters after Castillo's leadoff single in the first frame. But after getting Mauer to fly out to lead off the fourth, Davies lost his control.

Davies has allowed five earned runs or more in three of his last four starts, giving up a total of 19 earned runs in 20 innings over that stretch. He is just 2-4 over his last six outings.

"I was just unlucky a little bit in that inning," Davies said. "Obviously it (stinks) to get a loss, (stinks) to lose the game, but I have to let it go."

The Braves got an unearned run off Slowey in the sixth inning as Francoeur and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit back-to-back two-out singles following Bartlett's throwing error on Andrew Jones' grounder that would have ended the inning.

But Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan each worked a scoreless inning of relief to keep Slowey's win intact.

"I certainly wasn't as strong in the sixth as I was in the first, but I still felt like I had some pitches in me," Slowey said. "Our bullpen is so great, you can never say it was a bad idea to go to them."

The Twins added two insurance runs when Mauer drove in an RBI single in the seventh and Morneau collected a run-scoring single one inning later to push the lead to 7-3.








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 10 1
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 5 0 0 1 1 x 7 13 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ATL - KYLE DAVIES, OSCAR VILLARREAL (4TH), MACAY MCBRIDE (7TH),
    BLAINE BOYER (7TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    MIN - KEVIN SLOWEY, MATT GUERRIER (7TH), PAT NESHEK
    (8TH), JOE

    Jun 12 10:49 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MAUER ON FIRST, L CASTILLO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    MINNESOTA 7 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M CUDDYER (.291, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 10:36 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED JOE MAUER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MORNEAU ON SECOND, M CUDDYER ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    MINNESOTA 6 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.308, 1-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 10:12 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA SCORED ANDRUW JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J SALTALAMACCHIA ON FIRST, J FRANCOEUR ON
    THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    MINNESOTA 5 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: S THORMAN (.231, 1-FOR-2, HR, RBI)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 9:45 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY SCOTT THORMAN (7) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF KEVIN SLOWEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2, MINNESOTA 5
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.325, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 9:27 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LUIS CASTILLO SCORED MIKE REDMOND AND NICK PUNTO.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, L CASTILLO ON FIRST, J BARTLETT ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1
    MINNESOTA 5 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MAUER (.327, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 9:21 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY BRIAN MCCANN ALLOWED TORII HUNTER TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.305, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 9:12 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY TORII HUNTER SCORED MICHAEL CUDDYER AND JUSTIN
    MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T HUNTER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.305, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 9:09 PM


  • ML
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JEFF FRANCOEUR (8) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF KEVIN SLOWEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1, MINNESOTA 0
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J SALTALAMACCHIA (.309, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    Braves vs. TwinsJun 12 8:32 PM