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Patience pays off ro Twins, Ortiz in 12th

9/26/2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- David Ortiz stayed patient.

After going 0-3 with two strikeouts and a walk heading into the 12th inning, Ortiz hit a two-run homer to give the Minnesota Twins a 7-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Ortiz, who also was hit by a pitch in the second inning,
sparking a beanball exchange, hit a 2-1 fastball from David Maurer
(0-1) over a leaping Coco Crisp at the center-field wall.

"I'm not hitting good against lefties this year, but I'm having
some good at-bats,'' said Ortiz, who came into the game batting
.196 against left-handed pitchers this year. "That's why I don't
want our coaches to give up on me.''

Torii Hunter, who went 3-for-5 and snapped an 0-for-19 slump,
singled off David Maurer (0-1) with one out to set up Ortiz's
heroics.

J.C. Romero (9-2), who came in to face slugger Jim Thome in the
11th, retired all four batters he faced for the win. Thome had
already blasted two homers into the upper deck for the Indians, but
Romero said he relished the challenge.

"I wanted to face him,'' said Romero, who made his 80th
appearance of the season, the third-highest total in club history.
"That's a personal challenge. I knew he had a big night. And I
just took it like I wanted to be the one to end it.

"If you want to be the best, you've got to go against the
best.''

Michael Cuddyer, who tied the game at 4 with a solo shot in the
seventh, singled in pinch-runner Denny Hocking to tie it again at 5
in the ninth.

Cleveland looked to be on its way to a win over the AL Central
champs when Ellis Burks hit a solo homer in the top of the ninth to
give the Indians a 5-4 lead. The Twins came back to tie the score
three times before Burks' homer.

But Doug Mientkiewicz led off the bottom half with a single off
closer Danys Baez and advanced to second when Crisp bobbled the
ball. Cuddyer then brought the crowd to its feet with his
game-tying RBI.

"We needed this win and the win last night,'' Twins starter
Rick Reed said. "These are pretty much how the playoff games are
going to go.''

Burks went 4-for-6 and scored three runs.

Thome went 2-for-4 with two homers and three RBI for Cleveland. Both of Thome's homers were off Reed.

Thome's homers went 455 and 447 feet and gave him a career-high
50, tying Albert Belle's 1995 team record.

"When I was rounding first, I saw where they hit and it was nice,'' Thome said. "When I got back to the bench the guys were really excited.''

Both dugouts emptied in the top of the fourth after Reed plunked John McDonald -- possibly in retaliation for Ortiz, hit by Brian Tallet in the second. McDonald argued with catcher A.J. Pierzynski as he walked to first and both teams came onto the field yelling and pointing at each other. The umpires separated the teams before punches were thrown.

Dave Burba, who came on for Tallet, gave up Cuddyer's first game-tying hit.

Tallet gave up five hits through the first three innings, but settled down and retired the final ten batters he faced before being relieved. Tallet threw six innings, giving up three runs -- two earned -- off five hits.

Reed worked five innings, allowing nine hits and four runs.

"Reed didn't have his greatest stuff, but he was able to get
through some innings before our bullpen came in and did a pretty
good job,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I thought we
pitched pretty good down the stretch and gave ourselves a chance
every inning.''

Reed got into trouble early after giving up a two-hit single to
Burks in the first. Then Thome, who has reached base safely in 51
straight games, crushed a 3-2 pitch to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.

Game notes
Thome moved into second place on Cleveland's all-time RBI
list with 920. ... Twins 3B Corey Koskie sat out with a bruised
right ankle suffered in Tuesday night's game. ... Burks extended
his hitting streak to 13 games. ... The Twins hit three doubles in
the third inning. ... Thome's 11 home runs against the Twins this
season are three shy of the major league record for home runs
against one team in a season. Lou Gehrig hit 14 against the Indians
in 1936.