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OF's return adds to Twins' good news

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 22, 2001


CHICAGO -- Torii Hunter's return from the disabled list has only made the first-place Twins tougher.

Hunter homered and made a great catch to back Eric Milton's seven solid innings as Minnesota beat the defending Central champion White Sox for the fifth straight time, 4-3 Saturday.

"When I was on the DL, I was cheering on the bench, jumping up and down when somebody would hit a triple," said Hunter, in his first game since going on the disabled list April 6 with a strained groin. "I was dying to get back out there."

Corey Koskie added a two-run shot for the Twins (13-3), who won their fourth straight and are off to the best start in team history.

James Baldwin, making his first start after off-season shoulder surgery, allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. Chicago has lost seven of nine.

"We're still at a point where we're not going to drop our heads," Baldwin said. "They don't have the best record in baseball for nothing."

Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said the 6-10 White Sox need to snap out of it quickly.

"We just can't feel sorry for ourselves, but if we don't come out and pick it up, it could get real ugly," said Konerko, who went 2-for-4 with a homer. "It's easier to get up when you're winning."

Minnesota broke a tie at 3 in the eighth against reliever Gary Glover. A.J. Pierzynski led off with a double and went to third when Glover made a throwing error on Cristian Guzman's sacrifice bunt. Denny Hocking hit a run-scoring groundout to make it 4-3.

Milton allowed three runs, two earned, and seven hits. Latroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

RED SOX 8, YANKEES 3: Rookie Shea Hillenbrand homered and hit a two-run double off Mike Mussina before a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium to lead Boston.

"There's so much excitement here, so much energy with the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry," Hillenbrand said. "If you can put up numbers and produce here, you can produce pretty much anywhere."

Frank Castillo outpitched Mussina for the second time in a week. Manny Ramirez homered and singled twice for Boston in front of 55,483 fans.

INDIANS 5, TIGERS 4 (11): Jim Thome hit a winning two-run homer in the 11th inning on Jim Thome Bobblehead Day to extend host Cleveland's winning streak to five.

"It ended on the right note, didn't it?" Indians manager Charlie Manuel said.

Thome, in a 5-for-37 slump and batting .125 overall, pulled a 2-and-1 pitch from Todd Jones into the rightfield seats for his second homer.

"I had a vision in my mind that I was actually going to hit a homer today," Thome said after giving Cleveland its second last at-bat win in two days.

Juan Gonzalez hit a two-run homer for Cleveland to tie the score at 3 in the sixth.

A'S 7, RANGERS 6: Jeremy Giambi and Eric Chavez homered in the seventh inning as visiting Oakland came from behind twice.

Giambi connected on the first pitch of the seventh off Pat Mahomes to tie the score at 5. After Miguel Tejada reached on an error by third baseman Scott Sheldon, Chavez homered for a 7-5 lead.

Ivan Rodriguez homered on Jeff Tam's first pitch in the bottom half. Jason Isringhausen, Oakland's fifth pitcher, got three straight outs for his third save.

MARINERS 5, ANGELS 2: John Olerud hit a grand slam and host Seattle extended the best start in franchise history.

"We just keep coming up with good pitching and timely hitting," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "Olerud got the big hit today."

The Mariners (14-4) have won seven of eight.

ROYALS 5, BLUE JAYS 4 (13): Joe Randa was 4-for-6 with four RBI, including a two-out single in the 13th inning that lifted host Kansas City.

The Royals, who overcame Brad Fullmer's grand slam, got a runner on with one out in the 13th when Dan Plesac hit Jermaine Dye with a pitch.

Dye stole second, Mike Sweeney was intentionally walked and Dee Brown struck out. Randa, who had tied the score at 4 with a sixth-inning homer, singled to right.

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