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Tucker powers offense with three RBI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After 15 losses in 17 games, San Francisco
manager Felipe Alou was downright depressed before Wednesday
night's game against the Minnesota Twins.

"The wine is not tasting the same these days," Alou said,
shaking his head. "Wine after a loss is different. It's
tasteless."

It undoubtedly tasted much sweeter on Wednesday night.

Michael Tucker drove in three runs and Moises Alou went 4-for-4
to lead the Giants to an 8-4 victory over the Twins.

Noah Lowry (3-6) tied a season high with seven strikeouts and
pitched with confidence after being staked to a 4-0 lead after the
first inning, helping the Giants snap a four-game losing streak and
win for just the third time in the last 18 games.

The Giants jumped on Twins starter Kyle Lohse (5-5) early and
put the game out of reach in the ninth against J.C. Romero on Mike
Matheny's RBI double and a two-run homer by Omar Vizquel -- his
first right-handed homer in 711 at-bats.

"We'll take them any way we can get them," Matheny said in the
jubilant clubhouse. "Getting a win any way we can right now is a
beautiful thing."

Lowry gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and was
relieved by Scott Munter in the sixth. Munter, Scott Eyre and Tyler
Walker combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the
Giants.

Joe Mauer hit two doubles for the Twins, who couldn't quite
erase a deficit to win as they had the night before. The Giants led
3-1 on Tuesday night but wound up losing 4-3 in 11 innings.

"Not a very good game for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. "You get behind in the first like that, it's a constant
battle."

Vizquel led off the game with a single and advanced to second on
a balk by Lohse.

After getting rookie Todd Linden to fly out to left, Lohse hit
J.T. Snow on the knee, then gave up an RBI single to Alou. Two
batters later, Tucker hit a two-run double past a diving Jacque
Jones in right for a 3-0 lead.

Pedro Feliz capped the inning with a single past third baseman
Glenn Williams that scored Tucker and drew boos from the home
crowd.

"We came out scoring early against a guy who, after the first
inning, was really, really tough," Felipe Alou said. "Four runs
was big because we haven't been giving our pitchers that kind of
support."

Lohse settled down after the first, striking out the side in the
second inning and allowing just one more unearned run the rest of
the way. Lohse gave up five runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits. He
struck out six in seven innings.

Moises Alou and Ray Durham hit back-to-back singles in the
third, and Alou advanced to third on a passed ball by Mauer. Alou
then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tucker for a 5-0 lead.

Lowry, meanwhile, cruised through the first three innings,
allowing just two singles before the Twins got to him in the
fourth.

Mauer led off the inning with a double and Torii Hunter followed
with a homer to left to make it 5-2.

Minnesota hit three doubles in the fifth, including RBI by
Mauer and Lew Ford, to pull within 5-4, but couldn't get any
closer.

Gardenhire said the Twins weren't patient enough against Lowry's
baffling changeup, but Hunter disagreed.

"It's easy to say that when you're sitting," Hunter said.
"Why not tip your hat to the young guy? If we knew more about him,
we would have been patient."

Game notes
Snow crumpled to the turf and writhed in pain after being
hit in his right kneecap. He was able to walk to first and scored
on Tucker's double, but he did not come out to play defense in the
bottom of the second inning. Feliz moved from third base to first
and Deivi Cruz was inserted at third base. Snow is listed as
day-to-day. ... Linden got his first hit of 2005 with a single in
the seventh, snapping an 0-for-8 start that included five
strikeouts. ... Mauer's RBI double in the fifth easily could have
been a triple after the ball got past diving CF Jason Ellison. But
Mauer slipped on first base and wound up with a double, and a
sheepish grin. ... Jones went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his
career-high 13-game hitting streak.