PHOENIX (AP) -- Jose Cruz Jr. and the Arizona Diamondbacks got
the bounce they've been waiting for Thursday night.
Cruz's homer just over the right-field fence started a three-run
fourth inning and the Diamondbacks beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 to
avoid a three-game sweep.
"I hooked that ball pretty good and it had a lot of topspin on
it," Cruz said. "I ran hard and stepped on first, then saw it
rattling around down there. We've been waiting for a break and that
Cruz also helped the Diamondbacks defensively, making a running
catch of a long fly ball by Shannon Stewart on the warning track to
end a Minnesota rally.
Cruz missed 27 games with a lower back strain.
"He's starting to gain some ground out there," Arizona manager
Bob Melvin said.
Javier Vazquez pitched six solid innings for the Diamondbacks,
who won for just the second time in their last nine games. Vazquez
(6-4) allowed three runs and three hits while allowing three walks,
the first he has issued since the end of April.
Vazquez had faced 221 consecutive batters without allowing a
walk before walking Michael Cuddyer in the fifth.
"I felt good but my command was off a little bit," Vazquez
said. "For me [the walk streak] isn't important. If there's a walk
or not is a non-issue to me."
"We're immune to one-run games," Melvin said. "We've had
enough of them. It's not like we haven't been there before."
"Any time you get a chance to win a series, that's what it's
all about," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had a
chance to sweep them here but they played well, they came back and
jumped on us early and got some runs off Lohse in the first four
innings and then held a lead."
Cruz lined his homer just over the right-field fence leading off
the fourth. Chad Tracy and Chris Snyder followed with consecutive
singles and Vazquez sacrificed the runners to second and third.
Tracy scored on a groundout by Counsell and Cintron added an RBI
single for a 4-0 lead.
"It kind of got away from me that one inning," Lohse said.
"But I battled and kept us in the game. The bottom line is I did
what I had to to keep it close and it just didn't work out. I had
nothing today. My fastball was all over the place. But the key is
to be able to pitch out of jams."
Morneau hit a one-out homer, his eighth, into the picnic
pavilion behind the concourse in deep center field in the fifth to
pull the Twins within 4-1. Vazquez then walked Cuddyer and Juan
Castro, but escaped the jam when Lohse struck out and Shannon
Stewart flew out to Cruz at the warning track.
Jones made it 4-3 with a two-out homer in the sixth, his eighth,
extending his hitting streak to nine games.
Lohse allowed four runs and seven hits with four walks and two
Vazquez had thrown a club-record 54 1/3 innings without
issuing a walk. Vazquez's last walk came on April 25 to Los Angeles
pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee. Vazquez's streak was the longest in the
majors since David Wells' 59-inning run from Sept. 6, 2002 to April
21, 2003. ... Before the game, the Diamondbacks optioned RHP Mike
Koplove to Triple-A Tucson and recalled RHP Edgar Gonzalez from
Tucson. Gonzalez, who started 12 games in Tucson, will move to the
bullpen and become Arizona's long reliever. Koplove was 2-1 with a
5.06 ERA in 30 games for the Diamondbacks.