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Twins Move Closer to Tigers With Win

September 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

CLEVELAND — No amount of adversity seems to discourage the Minnesota Twins.

One day after Minnesota lost rookie sensation Francisco Liriano for the season, Torii Hunter and Rondell White homered on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning Thursday night to help the surging Twins pull within one game of first place with a 9-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

"We could have hung our heads, but we kept on truckin' and won," Hunter said after driving in four runs to help the Twins to their sixth victory in seven games.

Minnesota moved two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the wild-card race and one game behind the faltering Detroit Tigers in the Central Division. The last time Minnesota was one game back was the second day of the season, April 5.

"We got a little good news that it was nothing major with Liriano and that probably lifted us a bit," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The guys were fired up."

Despite going only three for 19 with runners in scoring position and stranding a season-high 16 against nine Cleveland pitchers, the Twins improved to 36-36 on the road. Minnesota, with baseball's best home record at 50-24, plays its next nine games on the road.

"We left guys on base, so what?" Hunter said. "We won. That's good news."

Hunter and White each had three of Minnesota's 15 hits. Both spent time on the disabled list earlier this season for the Twins.

"We won't worry about what we can't control," Gardenhire said. "We're playing good baseball, we're relaxed and having fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun."

Twins catcher Joe Mauer drew his 20th intentional walk, tying Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew (1969) for second most in team history. Killebrew had 23 in 1970.

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