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Sears also drives in four runs against Martinez

5/10/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Todd Sears showed up at the Metrodome
wondering whether he'd be at Triple-A Rochester by nightfall.

His day ended with four RBI and his first career homer -- off
Pedro Martinez, no less.

Sears led Minnesota to a 5-0 victory on Friday over the Boston
Red Sox and their ace for the Twins' ninth win in 10 games.

Minnesota sent rookie Michael Cuddyer to the minors instead of
Sears to accommodate utility infielder Denny Hocking's activation
from the disabled list.

"The last couple days, I didn't know what was going to
happen," Sears said. "When I came to the field today, I knew
there was a chance I could go to Triple-A. That's how baseball is.
You just don't know."

Martinez, who hasn't spoken to the media in nearly a month, may
not have been at full strength. He was stretching next to the mound
several times during the game, and Red Sox manager Grady Little
noticed something ``a little out of the ordinary in the fourth
inning.

"We'll check him out tomorrow, find out what's wrong," Little
said. "It was something down in the groin area. He said he felt
fine."

Martinez (3-2) lasted only five innings, surrendering eight
hits, five runs and a walk while striking out four. His ERA rose to
3.15, and the 83 pitches were his lowest total in eight starts this
season.

Healthy or not, the Twins were still happy.

"Anytime you go up against Pedro and you get some runs, you
feel pretty fortunate," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We know
he's going to be one of the best pitchers in this game for some
time. We feel pretty good about ourselves."

Jacque Jones went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI for the
defending AL Central champions, who began the season 10-14 but have
since returned to their 2002 form.

Johan Santana, in a spot start for the injured Rick Reed
(strained back), pitched five shutout innings against the
second-highest scoring team in the majors before LaTroy Hawkins,
J.C. Romero and Eddie Guardado finished up the five-hitter.

Santana will return to his long relief role when Reed rejoins
the rotation, likely for his next turn.

Gardenhire wanted to keep Santana's pitch count under control,
and the 24-year-old left-hander threw 76 (52 for strikes). He gave
up four hits and a walk while striking out three.

Santana (2-0) was excellent last year both out of the bullpen
and in the rotation, and he thought he'd get a chance to start this
season when Eric Milton had knee surgery.

The Twins signed veteran Kenny Rogers, though, making Santana
unhappy he'd be staying in the pen. He doesn't appear distracted,
however, with a 1.30 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

"I have to do my job," Santana said. "I've been through this
before. I know what I have to do. I just want to go out there and
help the team to win."

Nomar Garciaparra's two-out triple in the first and Bill
Mueller's two-out double in the second were Boston's only scoring
threats.

Martinez struck out 12 in a five-hitter against the Twins last
Saturday at Fenway Park, but he gave up seven hits in the first two
innings of this game.

"His command wasn't like it was a week ago," Little said.
"But that would be hard to top."

Jones and Cristian Guzman opened the bottom of the first with
singles, and Sears drove in Jones with one of his own.

Trying to regain control of the inside of the plate, Martinez
hit Torii Hunter on the next pitch with a fastball on the forearm.
The one after that to Dustan Mohr was high and tight.

In the second, A.J. Pierzynski hit a leadoff double and scored
to make it 2-0 on a single by Jones.

Then Sears, who struck out twice last weekend against Martinez,
hit a first-pitch fastball 411 feet into the stacks of football
seats above right field to put the Twins up 5-0.

"He left that pitch up a little bit," Sears said. "I went up
there with the mindset to just be aggressive."

Sears had the ball in the clubhouse afterward.

"The whole minute is kind of a blur," Sears said. "It's a
great feeling, especially when it helps our team win."

Game notes
Martinez entered this game 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in nine
previous starts against Minnesota. ... The Twins (19-15) are two
games off last year's record after 34 games. ... Minnesota 3B Corey
Koskie made an impressive leaping snare of Garciaparra's liner in
the third. ... Sears -- a lanky lefty-hitting first basemen who has
38 at-bats in the majors -- was acquired with cash in a July 2000
trade with Colorado for OF Butch Huskey and 2B Todd Walker. Walker
batted second for Boston on Friday.