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Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Minnesota gets boost from Radke

Twins hurler ends drought by starters in 9-1 victory over White Sox

May 23, 2004

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— Brad Radke again showed the Twins' pitching staff what it takes to be the ace.

Radke allowed one run in seven innings to halt a bad string for Minnesota's starters, and Matthew LeCroy hit a two-run homer, leading the Twins over the Chicago White Sox, 9-1, Saturday night.

"Only for about 10 years he's been doing it," manager Ron Gardenhire said, referring to Radke. "I won't say we expect it, but we've seen it many times."

Just as he did down the stretch and in the playoffs last season and the year before, Radke came up big when his team needed it most. Twins starters had not recorded a win in their previous six starts, going 0-4 with an 8.16 ERA.

"I know it's only May, but it's always good to beat these guys because you know they are going to be there at the end," said Radke, who admitted putting a little extra pressure on himself to stop the two-game skid. "I felt pretty good out there tonight."

Justin Morneau went 3-for-3 with his first homer and first two RBIs of the season for Minnesota, which had lost the previous three games against Chicago by a combined 29-5 margin. Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.

"We just knew we had to come out and have good at-bats and take advantage when we had runners in scoring position," said LeCroy, who has a hit in six straight games, including a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam against Toronto.

"We needed one of the starters to come in and step up and that's what Brad did," he added.

Jose Valentin had two hits for the White Sox, who had their winning streak snapped at four and fell one game behind the first-place Twins in the AL Central.

Radke (4-2) allowed six hits and no walks while striking out five. He improved to 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts.

Tigers 8, Mariners 4

Seattle -- Jason Johnson pitched into the ninth inning, and Craig Monroe hit a three-run double in a five-run eighth, leading Detroit over Seattle. The Mariners had things in control after a solid night from Joel Pineiro, who was outstanding for seven innings after a shaky first. But the bullpen had a meltdown in the eighth.

Angels 3, Orioles 2

Anaheim, Calif. -- Vladimir Guerrero hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, and Kelvim Escobar pitched seven strong innings, leading Anaheim over Baltimore. Escobar (3-2) shrugged off second-inning home runs by Melvin Mora and Javy Lopez to improve his career record against the Orioles to 11-3. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in his longest outing this season, striking out six and walking two.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts, and Troy Percival worked the ninth, striking out B.J. Surhoff with runners on first and third for his 12th save in 15 attempts.

Rangers 4, Yankees 3

Arlington, Texas -- Rod Barajas homered with one out in the ninth inning, capping a late comeback that gave Texas a victory over New York.

Barajas, who became the full-time starter Friday when rookie Gerald Laird tore a ligament in his left thumb, smacked an 0-1 breaking ball from Tom Gordon (1-2) high into the left-field seats for his fourth homer of the season. The Rangers came streaming out of their dugout and surrounded the plate, giving him an October-like greeting once he scored.

Devil Rays 6, Indians 3

St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Jose Cruz Jr. homered and drove in four runs, leading Tampa Bay to its first three-game winning streak of the season. Cruz is 7-for-11 with two homers and eight RBIs in the past three games. He hit a three-run shot in the first, and made it 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the sixth.

Tino Martinez hit a two-run double in the eighth to put Tampa Bay up 6-3, sending the Indians to their fourth loss in a row.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2

Boston -- Manny Ramirez hit a mammoth homer for the second consecutive night, helping Boston rally past Toronto. Making his major-league debut, Anastacio Martinez got three outs to win in relief of Pedro Martinez and give Boston its sixth victory in eight games. Keith Foulke worked the ninth for his ninth save of the season and 23rd in a row.

Toronto starter Ted Lilly was cruising with a three-hit shutout until he was hit in the left ankle by Mark Bellhorn's liner to start the sixth inning. After a visit from the trainer, Lilly stayed in the game, but Kevin Millar hit a deep fly that was caught at the base of the Green Monster, and Ramirez hit one over everything to tie it.

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