Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 4/15)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 15
Game 2: Wednesday, April 16
Game 3: Thursday, April 17

Tigers 4

(1-11, 0-4 away)

Twins 6

(7-6, 1-3 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 15, 2003

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 000200200 4 5 0
    MIN 01001400 - 6 12 1

    W: K. Lohse (2-1)

    L: M. Maroth (0-4)

    S: E. Guardado (5)

    Hunter sparks Twins to fourth consecutive win

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Torii Hunter found his swing on Tuesday night, in case anyone was worried.

    His team wasn't.

    Torii Hunter

    Hunter broke his slump by going 2-for-4 with a homer to help the Minnesota Twins to a 6-4 victory over the scuffling Tigers -- their 12th straight over Detroit.

    "It felt pretty good,'' said Hunter, now batting .149.

    "I think he's going to be fine,'' said manager Ron Gardenhire. "It was just a matter of time before he started rolling.''

    Cristian Guzman went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI triple for the Twins, who won their fourth in a row since six consecutive losses. Eddie Guardado gave up two hits in the ninth inning but earned his fifth save in as many tries.

    Carlos Pena gave the scoring-starved Tigers a lift and a brief lead with a two-run homer in the fourth, but they fell to 1-11 and dropped the first of a 12-game road trip.

    Hunter, who began the game with one hit in his last 20 at-bats, led off the second with his first homer of the year since signing a four-year, $32 million contract in January.

    Just about the only one who didn't improve his average in the Twins' three-game sweep of Toronto over the weekend, Hunter collected his team-leading ninth RBI on a 1-1 pitch from Tigers starter Mike Maroth.

    Doug Mientkiewicz, who had two of Minnesota's 12 hits, barked encouragement to his teammate as their paths crossed near the plate.

    "You could see it was killing him,'' Mientkiewicz said. "It was just a matter of Torii relaxing.''

    Maroth (0-4) had a 2-1 lead after four that he couldn't hold.

    "He's pitched better than his record indicates,'' rookie manager Alan Trammell said. "But it seems like we've been saying that a lot.''

    Hunter sparked a four-run sixth with a leadoff single, scoring the go-ahead run on Matthew LeCroy's splintered-bat roller to deep short.

    Maroth gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out three. Luis Rivas delivered an RBI double against Chris Spurling, and Jacque Jones drove in two with a single off side-arming lefty Jamie Walker.

    The inexperienced Tigers have given Trammell decent pitching and fielding so far, but their offense has been brutal.

    They got four runs -- two earned -- off Minnesota starter Kyle Lohse (2-1) but just three hits.

    Veterans Bobby Higginson (.190), Dean Palmer (.100) and Dmitri Young (.114) aren't doing much to inspire the young guys.

    "It's obvious they're trying to do something extra, and that's to be expected,'' Trammell said.

    Young said the veteran players have to worry about more than simply not hitting. They're trying to set an example for the younger ones.

    "We have to keep our heads up,'' he said.

    Trailing 6-2 in the seventh, Eric Munson drove in two with a one-out double after Twins second baseman Rivas threw a potential double-play relay into left field for an error.

    Lohse went 6 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out eight while batting a bit of a cold.

    Lohse, who gave up a career-low two hits over eight innings in a victory at Detroit on April 3 and entered the game with the lowest batting average against (.100) among major league starters, didn't allow a hit until the fourth.

    His ERA at 1.69 and his changeup working well, Lohse has been the best of the Twins' rotation so far.

    "I have confidence I can throw any pitch at any time,'' he said.

    Ramon Santiago -- the only Tiger hitting above .250 -- doubled high off the right-field curtain with one out, missing a homer by a few feet.

    Then Pena hammered Lohse's next pitch into the folded football seats in straightaway center field, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead.

    Guzman -- who had the most triples in the majors (34) from 2000-01 but managed only six last year with ailing knees and shoulders -- picked up his third three-base hit of the young season to tie the game at 2 in the fifth.

    "If they give it to me, I'll take it,'' Guzman said with a shrug.

    Rivas, who singled, scored easily with two outs as Guzman sped around the infield after his smash to the gap in right-center.

    Game notes

    Detroit's last victory over Minnesota was May 5, 2002, at the Metrodome. ... Twins RHP Mike Fetters, who strained his left hamstring April 5, will throw a simulated game on Wednesday. He's eligible to come off the disabled list and rejoin the bullpen on Sunday. ... LaTroy Hawkins and J.C. Romero bridged the gap between Lohse and Guardado. Romero tossed a hitless inning despite a sore right (non-throwing) shoulder that makes it painful to pull his shirt over his head. He said the pain might stem from a batted ball that glanced off him Toronto.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press