MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins finally are showing signs
of pitching to their potential.
Brad Radke pitched his best game of the season, allowing four
hits in seven innings to lead the Twins over the reeling Kansas
City Royals 6-1 Wednesday night."I've been playing this game a long time," he said. "I know
what I have to do out there."Radke (3-3), coming off the poorest April of his major league
career, struck out seven and walked none, lowering his ERA from
8.89 to 7.29. When he fanned Angel Berroa on a changeup in the
fourth, Berroa slammed his bat against the ground in frustration,
breaking it.Following seven strong innings by Johan Santana on Tuesday,
Radke helped Minnesota lower its ERA to 5.94 -- still the highest in
the major leagues."The big thing is we got a couple good starts in a row now,"
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hopefully we can continue
that. That's how we're going to win ballgames, is by our starters.
We know that."Kansas City, on its second losing streak this season of six
games or more, is 0-12 on the road this year, one shy of the record
for most consecutive road losses at the start of a season, set by
the 1969 Houston Astros and 1988 Baltimore Orioles.The Royals, a major league-worst 5-20, have lost a team record
13 straight road games dating to last year. They are only the sixth
team since 1900 and the fourth in the last 70 years to lose their
first 12 road games."We're not going to hit tomorrow," Royals manager Buddy Bell
said, looking ahead to batting practice before Thursday's game.
"We've been doing a lot of cage work recently for obvious reasons,
and we're going to try and mix it up a little bit and do whatever
we can to try and turn this thing around."Radke allowed runners in each of the first three innings, then
retired 11 in a row before Matt Stairs led off the seventh with his
first home run of the year. Radke has given up a home run in 10
straight games."He had guys off balance," Hunter said. "That's the Brad
Radke I know."Joe Mays (0-4) gave up six runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in
3 1-3 innings against his former team. Minnesota scored four
unearned runs in the third after Rondell White's sharp leadoff
grounder bounced off Berroa's glove at shortstop and into left
field for a two-base error.Juan Castro reached on an infield single, Shannon Stewart
singled for a 1-0 lead, Joe Mauer hit an RBI groundout and Torii
Hunter connected on the next pitch for a 427-foot, two-run homer to
center."It seemed like when I made a good pitch, they'd beat a couple
of them into the ... ground and get base hits off of them," said
Mays, whose ERA dropped from 11.07 to 10.27. "I missed my spot
horribly against Stewart when hit that double, and I got taken out.
It was just a matter of trying to make as many quality pitches as I
could, and I'm the one that made more mistakes than the other
team."Stewart chased Mays with an RBI double in the fourth, and Mauer
hit a run-scoring double off Jimmy Gobble.Twins fans are accustomed to watching Mays struggle. He pitched
six seasons for the Minnesota and signed a $20 million, four-year
contract in 2002. He won 17 games for the Twins in 2001, but was
plagued with injuries and ineffectiveness after signing the big
deal."It's just not working out for him," Gardenhire said.
"Believe me, I've got enough to worry about with my own
Twins pitchers have not walked a batter in the last three
games. The staff has issued a league-low 57 walks this season. ...
Mays has pitched into the sixth inning only once this season.