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Saturday, Apr. 14 7:05pm ET
Twins 8-2 start best since 1970

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Brad Radke felt terrible Saturday night. After a rough start, he pitched quite well, thank you.

Doug Mientkiewicz
Doug Mientkiewicz, left, drove in a career-high five runs in the Twins' victory.

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 three-game winner.

"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 out good."

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 A.J. Pierzynski.

"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 that."

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.

Game notes
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 Saturday's game.

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