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Mientkiewicz leads offensive revival

4/12/2003

TORONTO (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins are starting to hit, at last.

Doug Mientkiewicz homered and drove in three runs as the Twins
broke away from the Toronto Blue Jays 9-6 Saturday.

The Twins, who ended a six-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory
on Friday, scored more than three runs for just the third time this
season.

"We're starting to find holes now. Before it seemed like every
time we hit a ball it was right at somebody,'' Mientkiewicz said.

Toronto closer Kelvim Escobar (0-1) entered the ninth with the
game tied at 4, but he allowed five runs without recording an out.
Escobar has a 27.00 ERA this season.

Luis Rivas and Jacque Jones singled before Escobar walked Denny Hocking. Corey Koskie followed with a go-ahead grounder to first
baseman Carlos Delgado, whose throw to the plate didn't beat a
sliding Rivas.

"That was the biggest play of the game,'' Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "That opened the door for a few more runs.''

Torii Hunter ended an 0-for-16 slump with a two-run single off
Escobar and Mientkiewicz hit a two-run single off Doug Linton,
giving Minnesota a 9-4 lead.

"I'm not a machine. It hurts when they don't go through,'' said
Hunter, who is hitting .125 this season. "I just know that you
have to be patient. Look at Luis Rivas. He got one hit, then bam!
Then they all started coming in bunches.''

Rivas went 3-for-4 for the second straight game.

After Toronto scored a run in the ninth, Eddie Guardado relieved
with the bases loaded and one out. Mike Bordick had an RBI grounder
before Guardado closed for his fourth save.

"That was pretty nerve racking,'' said Guardado, who did not
come into a game with a runner on base all of last season.

LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win.

Eric Hinske and Frank Catalanotto homered for the Blue Jays, who
have lost three straight.

Toronto blew three one-run leads.

"Our bullpen is not pitching like it's capable of. I wish I had
an answer to that, but I don't,'' Toronto manager Carlos Tosca
said.

Mientkiewicz and Bobby Kielty hit consecutive home runs off
reliever Doug Creek to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead in the seventh.
Toronto pinch-hitter Tom Wilson, batting in place of Eric Hinske,
hit a two-run double off Hawkins in the bottom half.

Koskie led off the eighth with a double off Cliff Politte and
later scored on Kielty's two-out single, tying it at 4.

Hinske, who entered the game in a 2-for-28 slump, gave Toronto a
1-0 lead in the second with his first homer of the season.

Jacque Jones' RBI double in the third tied it.

Catalanotto homered in the fifth.

Game notes
Toronto starter Pete Walker allowed one run on four his in
six innings in his first start of the season. Walker started in
place of injured starter Justin Miller. ... Brad Radke, who allowed
eight runs to Toronto last Sunday, gave up two runs on seven hits
in six innings. Radke tied a career-high with five walks -- the
first time he's walked more than three batters in 67 starts, dating
back to Aug. 8, 2000.