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Sturtze, Wells take all the fun from Twins' party

4/5/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Tanyon Sturtze is off to a strong start in
Toronto, and he hopes that helps him forget about last season with
Tampa Bay.

Sturtze was impressive in his first outing of the season, and
Vernon Wells homered twice and drove in four runs as the Blue Jays
spoiled Minnesota's home opener Friday night with a 7-2 victory.

Sturtze went 4-18 with a 5.18 ERA last year with the Devil Rays,
leading the majors in defeats.

''I don't think last year will ever be gone,'' he said, ''but
it's refreshing to get the 'W.' I said as soon as I put this
uniform on, it was a fresh start for me.''

Frank Catalanotto and Josh Phelps also homered as the Blue Jays
bounced back from a rough start. They were outscored 27-12 and
outhomered 7-1 by the New York Yankees in a three-game sweep in the SkyDome.

''It gets everybody a little more relaxed,'' Wells said. ''It's
good to come into their place and do to them what the Yankees did
to us.''

Doug Mientkiewicz homered and doubled for the Twins, who lost
their first game. The American League Central champions managed just five hits
before a sellout crowd of 48,617.

''We were chasing pitches,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said.

After Brad Radke, Joe Mays and Kyle Lohse gave up a total of two
runs in 19 2/3 innings during Minnesota's sweep at Detroit earlier
this week, Rick Reed couldn't match their success in his first
start.

He gave up four runs, six hits, a walk and three homers in six
innings.

Reed also pitched the last time the Twins played in the
Metrodome, a 6-3 defeat against Anaheim in Game 2 of the AL Championship
Series last October. The right-hander gave up six runs in 5 1/3
innings in that one.

''I don't think anyone expected us to go undefeated this year,''
Reed deadpanned.

Sturtze's first victory last year didn't come until June 26,
against Toronto. He gave up four hits, two runs (one earned), two
walks and a homer in 6 2/3 innings. Thirteen of his 20 outs were
groundballs.

''We think he's got a quality arm,'' Toronto manager Carlos
Tosca said. ''Last year was not an indicator of the type of pitcher
he is.''

After Jacque Jones led off the game with a single, Sturtze went
20 batters without allowing a hit until Bobby Kielty's single in
the sixth.

In the past, the Twins saw a lot of four-seam fastballs from
Sturtze that didn't move much at all. This time, his fastball was
darting all over the place, and he fooled Minnesota with a few
sliders, too.

''The movement was ridiculous,'' Mientkiewicz said. ''The bottom
was falling out. That's one of the downfalls of this club ...
sometimes we get a little overaggressive.''

The Twins cut it to 2-1 in the fifth when Mientkiewicz walked
and scored from second on a double error.

Third baseman Eric Hinske got one for a low throw to first on a
grounder by Luis Rivas, and catcher Greg Myers got the other when
Carlos Delgado's throw home squirted out of his glove as
Mientkiewicz dived headfirst at the plate.

The Blue Jays broke it open when Catalanotto and Wells homered
on Reed's first two pitches of the sixth to make it 4-1.

Tony Fiore made his first appearance of the season in the
seventh for Minnesota and gave up a three-run homer to Wells, the
first runs allowed by a Twins reliever this year.

The Twins admitted they might've been a little too excited for
this one. A live shot on the scoreboard showed two Army Reservists
from Minnesota throw the ceremonial first pitch in Kuwait after
plenty of pregame hype celebrating the team's division title and
two organization of the year awards.

''Maybe now we can get back to playing some baseball,''
Gardenhire said.

Game notes
It was the second multihomer game of Wells' career. The
other was last July 22 at Baltimore. ... Twins third baseman Corey Koskie, who
missed the opener with a sore back, was out with the flu. Rookie
Michael Cuddyer, who's supposed to be sharing right field with Kielty and
Dustan Mohr, started at third for the second time. ... Mike Bordick
gave Orlando Hudson a break at second base for Toronto. The last time
Bordick started at second was in 1994, for Oakland. ... The Twins
won their home opener each of the six seasons they made the
playoffs. ... Reed will be guaranteed an $8 million contract in
2004 if he pitches at least 194 2/3 innings this year. ... Toronto
general manager J.P. Ricciardi signed Sturtze in 1990 as a scout
with the A's. ... Minnesota's Mike Fetters pitched the ninth and
reaggravated the hamstring he tweaked this spring. He's day-to-day.