Twins 6, Giants 4
That center-field fence? Yes, it’s a long way out there.
Mientkiewicz showed he too can hit the long ball here. He homered and doubled twice and Joe Mays won his fourth straight start as the Minnesota Twins defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-4 on Tuesday night.
“I wouldn’t consider this one of my favorite ballparks to hit in,” Mientkiewicz said. “That ball I hit into the gap (in the sixth) took every ounce of fat in my body and didn’t go out. … When I hit a home run, it’s an accident. When I hit that, I said ‘Please go over.”’
It was his sixth of the year. And Minnesota didn’t make this look like a pitcher-friendly park.
The Twins tagged Giants starter Damian Moss for 12 hits in their first trip to San Francisco as both teams began their interleague schedules.
The three-game series marks the first time the Giants have played the AL Central and the first time the Twins have faced the NL West.
Minnesota always stays in San Francisco when it plays across the bay in Oakland, so the players have seen Pac Bell plenty of times.
Bonds homered in the fourth, driving a 1-1 pitch from Mays (7-3) into the seats in right-center. It was Bonds’ 14th homer of the season and No. 627 of his career. The five-time MVP also singled.
“I think everybody was front and center watching him take BP,” Mientkiewicz said. “Guys don’t realize how far it is.”
The Giants have lost two in a row after winning five straight to start their current 12-game homestand.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire likes interleague play and the chance to see new teams.
“We even got to see Barry hit a home run and we didn’t lose,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”
Moss (6-4) had two singles for his first career multihit game, but struggled to find any kind of groove on the mound.
Mays, meanwhile, patiently worked out of trouble and got the big outs when he needed them. He won without getting a strikeout.
The right-hander allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, walking one. Mays, 4-6 in 15 interleague games, also got a hit in his first at-bat.
Mays downplayed his latest winning streak, saying, “It’s being in the right place at the right time.”
“That’s the fun part about it, they haven’t seen me,” he said.
He was efficient—throwing 77 pitches, 51 for strikes—and was helped by solid defense. The Twins turned four double plays.
Twins reliever Johan Santana loaded the bases in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Neifi Perez singled with one out, Grissom reached on a fielding error by third baseman Koskie, and Ray Durham walked. LaTroy Hawkins relieved and Aurilia fouled off six pitches in a 10-pitch at-bat before grounding into a double play.
“We hit into our usual double plays,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “We’ll get out of it. We’re too good a team. We’ll find a way.”
The Twins doubled three times in the first inning against Moss to take a 2-0 lead. Hunter and Mientkiewicz hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles with two outs. Koskie hit an RBI single in the third following Guzman’s double.
Mientkiewicz’s two-run homer in the seventh gave the Twins a cushion.
“They’re aggressive,” Moss said. “They were aggressive early in the count, but my pitch selection was not as good as I wanted it to be. It wasn’t (catcher Benito Santiago). It was my fault. I went against the grain a couple times, and it kind of bit me.”
Moss allowed seven hits through three innings. The left-hander has lost four of his last five starts after starting the year 5-0. He pitched seven innings, striking out three and walking two.
Moss made his second career start against Minnesota, having beaten the Twins3-2 last June 12 at the Metrodome while with Atlanta.
The Twins are 10-7 against left-handed starters, including winning five of their last six. … Bonds has homered against 23 teams. … Minnesota is 51-52 in interleague play. … The main center-field scoreboard broke down in the top of the eighth but came back on in the ninth. … The Twins’ six doubles were a high by a Giants’ opponent in Pac Bell. … The 12 hits allowed by Mosswere a season high.