Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 8/31)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 31
Texas5Final
in 11
Minnesota8
Game 2: Wednesday, September 1
Texas2Final
Minnesota4
Game 3: Thursday, September 2
Texas0Final
Minnesota2

Rangers 5

(73-57, 31-35 away)

Twins 8

(73-58, 39-28 home)

    8:10 PM ET, August 31, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    1234567891011 R H E
    TEX 01022000000 5 10 0
    MIN 20300000003 8 13 1

    W: J. Rincon (11-6)

    L: C. Almanzar (7-3)

    Hunter drives in career-high six

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Torii Hunter waited until the final pitch of the game to wrap up a career night.

    Hunter hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning Tuesday night to cap a six-RBI night and lead the Minnesota Twins to an 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers.

    "It's just one of those days that don't happen too often," said Hunter, who believes the last time he had six RBI was in Little League. "When it does happen, you just have to enjoy it."

    Hunter also doubled twice, scored two runs, stole his 20th base of the season and made another catch against the center-field wall.

    "Torii had a big night, a very big night," said an exhausted Ron Gardenhire.

    "Man, I ran a lot today," Hunter said. "But, I'm just trying not to do too much and it's worked."

    Justin Morneau also homered and had two RBI for the Twins, who maintained their seven-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central.

    Juan Rincon (11-6) earned the win after getting two outs in the 11th. Joe Nathan got the first out, but had to leave when he tried to field a ball with his pitching hand and cut his ring finger. He is day-to-day.

    Alfonso Soriano and Rod Barajas had two RBI each for Texas, which dropped 4½ games behind Oakland in the AL West -- the club's biggest deficit of the season. The Rangers are also four games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race.

    "There's a lot of things that could've gone our way," said manager Buck Showalter, after his team left 11 on base. "The bottom line is they didn't, so I'm not going to dwell on them."

    With two outs in the 11th, Shannon Stewart singled off Carlos Almanzar (7-3) and Jacque Jones followed with an infield single before Hunter hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall for his 18th homer.

    "After three-and-a-half hours and 11 innings, you give up a couple bloopers and a chopper," Soriano said. "It's tough to lose like that."

    With Minnesota leading 5-3 in the fifth, Hank Blalock extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a one-out double. He moved to third on Mark Teixeira's third hit and scored on Soriano's RBI fielder's choice. Kevin Mench added a two-out RBI single off reliever Joe Roa to tie it at 5.

    Stewart led off the first with a double, and scored one out later from third on Hunter's RBI groundout. Morneau followed with a 410-foot home run off Ryan Drese to make it 2-0.

    Teixeira hit a leadoff double in the second and Soriano drove him in with a bloop single to make it 2-1.

    Hunter hit a two-run double in the third inning and Morneau had an RBI single to extend Minnesota's lead to 5-1.

    Barajas started the Rangers' comeback in the fourth with a two-out, two-run single off Kyle Lohse with the bases loaded to make it 5-3.

    Hunter made one of his patented catches in the sixth inning, leaping against the 408-foot sign in center field to rob Barajas of an extra-base hit. Jones made a great catch of his own in the seventh, diving to rob Mench with two outs to save a run.

    "I was getting ready to field the ball and Jacque came out of nowhere," Hunter said. "That play was impressive."

    Game notes


    Hunter has hit safely in 11 of 13 games, batting .367 with seven doubles, a homer and 13 RBI. ... The Twins optioned C Rob Bowen to Double-A New Britain of the Eastern League. They recalled INF Terry Tiffee and RHP Matt Guerrier from Triple-A Rochester of the International League, and recalled Jesse Crain from Elizabethton of the Appalachian League. ... Drese is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts against the Twins in the last six days. He has allowed 12 runs and 22 hits in 10 innings. ... Almanzar has allowed seven earned runs and nine hits over his last four appearances, covering four innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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