MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Brad Radke felt terrible Saturday night.
After a rough start, he pitched quite well, thank you.
Radke, who almost backed out of his turn in the rotation because
of a stomach virus, survived a shaky first inning to lead the Twins
past the Chicago White Sox 9-4, becoming the majors' first
"I thought about it," Radke said of sitting the game out.
"It's a stomach thing. My whole family has it. But usually the
days you don't feel good are the days you pitch decent. It turned
Doug Mientkiewicz drove in a career-high five runs as the Twins
improved to 8-2 -- the team's best start in 31 years.
Mientkiewicz hit his second homer of the year, a two-run shot,
off Chicago starter David Wells (1-2) in the fourth inning to snap
a 3-3 tie. He added a bases-clearing double in the eighth off
reliever Kelly Wunsch, then came around to score on a double by
"In 1999, if we got down 3-0 to David Wells, we would have
folded right there," said Mientkiewicz, who spent most of last
season at Triple-A Salt Lake. "This year is different. We believe
in each other and that goes a long way."
Radke gave up three runs and four hits in the first inning, but
he weathered that, pitching another seven scoreless innings.
Overall, he gave up eight hits, six strikeouts and one walk, and is
3-0 for the first time since 1996.
"He went out there and sucked it up for us," Twins manager Tom
Kelly said. "Obviously, the first inning was exciting, but he kept
his composure out there. He pitched his game, he threw strikes."
Wells called Radke a "warrior," and Mientkiewicz said all of
Radke's teammates admired his gritty performance.
"He looked like death before the game," Mientkiewicz said.
"That's a lot of heart. I don't think any of us could have done
Minnesota's Cristian Guzman his third home run of the season and
extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Wells, who had beaten the Twins in nine straight starts dating
to a loss on July 23, 1996, when he was with Baltimore, gave up
five runs on eight hits over seven innings.
"I'm going deep into the game, but giving up five runs each
time," said Wells, whose earned run average rose to 5.14.
"It's not a good sign."
In addition to their best start to a season since 1970, the
Twins hadn't opened 5-0 at home since 1987, when they wound up
winning the World Series.
"They're legit," Wells said. "We can never play this team
lightly. As a pitcher, you have to go out like you're facing the
Yankees or Cleveland."
Frank Thomas hit a two-run homer off Radke in the first inning,
and Carlos Lee had a run-scoring double to give Chicago a 3-0 lead.
After Guzman's homer in the bottom of the first, Luis Rivas
followed with a triple. Matt Lawton then walked and Rivas scored
when Corey Koskie hit into a double play to make it 3-2.
The Twins tied the game at 3-3 in the third on singles by
Pierzynski and Guzman, and a groundout by Lawton.
|Doug Mientkiewicz, left, drove in a career-high five runs in the Twins' victory.|
Chicago shortstop Royce Clayton was spiked by Bobby Kielty
on a stolen base in the sixth inning, but remained in the game. ...
Quinton McCracken, signed by the Twins on Friday, is expected to
play center field at Triple-A Edmonton for about a week before
being recalled. ... Pierzynski followed his four-hit game on Friday
by going 2-for-4. ... Utah Jazz star Karl Malone, whose team plays
the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, was at the Metrodome for
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NY Yankees 3
Kansas City 4
Tampa Bay 5
Chi. White Sox 4
NY Mets 0
St. Louis 4
Chicago Cubs 7
San Francisco 6
San Diego 5
Los Angeles 4