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Bonser upstages Prior as Twins shut out Cubs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Boof Bonser watched the rest of the Minnesota
Twins' rotation put up some impressive numbers this month, and felt
left out after two straight lackluster starts.

He joined the party on Saturday night.

Bonser threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings to overshadow Mark Prior's
second start of the season in the Minnesota Twins' 3-0 victory over
the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs rookie Freddie Bynum was taken
to the hospital on Saturday night after experiencing swelling in
his right arm during a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Bynum said he had a blood clot in the arm a few years back, but
didn't have any trouble with it since, until Saturday night.

He is hitting .260 with two home runs and five stolen bases in
40 games this season.

Struggling Twins DH Rondell White flew to Cincinnati on Saturday to get a cortisone
shot and an MRI on his left shoulder.

White had surgery in the offseason on the separated shoulder and
has not been able to regain his hitting stroke this season. The
veteran is hitting just .167 with no home runs and eight RBI in 43
games this season and is currently in an 0-for-15 slump.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said he was told that the surgeon, Dr. Timothy
Kremchek, may have tightened the shoulder too much in hopes of
keeping it from separating again.

No timetable has been set for White's return. The plan is to let
him consult with Kremchek in Cincinnati, then meet with Twins
doctors to determine a course of action.

"You see these other guys throwing up zeros," Bonser said of
strong showings by fellow starters Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano
and Brad Radke. "I thought, 'Now it's my turn. I need to do the
same thing."

Bonser (2-1) mixed his breaking ball and offspeed pitches with
his fastball much more effectively this time to outshine Prior,
scattering six hits and striking out one with no walks. He left to
a standing ovation in the seventh, and rookie Jason Kubel had two
hits and an RBI for the surging Twins, who won for the 13th time in
15 games.

"Boof threw the ball great," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He
did a super job."

Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 attempts.
It was his 100th career save -- 99th as a Twin.

Prior (0-2) looked sharp early in his second game this season
after missing the first 2½ months with shoulder problems, but he
faded in his final 1 2-3 innings and got little help from his
offense.

Phil Nevin had three hits for the Cubs, who only managed to get
one runner past second base all night while being baffled by
Bonser. Chicago was shut out for the eighth time this season, which
leads the majors.

"I felt more comfortable out there," Prior said. "I just
didn't put guys away in certain situations. Overall, it was better
than my first start."

Prior had a nightmarish first inning in his return to the mound
on June 18 against Detroit, allowing six runs and three homers. He
lasted just 3 2-3 innings and carried a 17.18 ERA into this start.

He got out of the first inning just fine, with Joe Mauer's
warning track flyout to left ending a 1-2-3 frame and looked like
his old dominating self through the first four.

Prior struck out three and retired the first nine batters he
faced, much to the delight of thousands of Cubs fans in attendance.

"He pitched well," said Twins cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer,
who went 0-for-4. "He spotted his fastball when he had to. As the
game went on, he started to get more life to it."

Luis Castillo got the first Twins hit to lead off the fourth
inning, and the Twins finally got on the board in the fifth.

Terry Tiffee singled home Torii Hunter and Jason Bartlett
followed by turning a 96-mph fastball into an RBI double to the
right-center field gap for a 2-0 lead. The hit extended Bartlett's
hitting streak to a career-high 10 games and the shortstop has a
hit in every game since being called up on June 13.

Prior appeared to be finished after giving up back-to-back
two-out singles to Justin Morneau and Hunter in the sixth. The
Metrodome speakers blared "Hit the Road Jack!" as manager Dusty
Baker strode to the mound, but the right-hander stayed in the game.

Kubel followed with an RBI-single for a 3-0 lead, and that was
it for Prior. He gave up three runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings
and lowered his ERA to 9.68.

"He threw well. His velocity was up. His location was pretty
sharp. I'm satisfied with what HE did tonight," said Cubs manager
Dusty Baker, making sure to separate Prior from the rest of the
team.

"It's real tiresome looking up and seeing a bunch of zeros up
there."

Prior's matchup against Mauer was the first meeting between the
top two picks of the 2001 draft. The Twins received some criticism
for taking Mauer, a high school catcher from nearby Cretin-Derham
Hall in St. Paul, over Prior, the dominating pitcher from Southern
Cal.

Five years later, nobody has any complaints. Prior made it to
the big leagues in less than a year and won 18 games in 2003, but
has struggled with shoulder problems the last two years.

Mauer is leading the majors in hitting in just his second full
season and went 1-for-3 with a single against Prior.

Game notes
Cubs 2B Tony Womack left the game in the third inning with
lower back spasms. He's listed as day to day. ... Nevin led off the
second with a single, but was picked off first on a nifty move by
Bonser. ... All the Cubs fans helped boost attendance to 42,304,
the second largest Metrodome crowd of the season.