Twins 5, Giants 2

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Kyle Lohse showed his family and friends what the rest of the American League has seen for the past month.

Pitching in front of nearly 40 of his personal fans, Chico native Lohse shut down San Francisco for eight innings. The Twins’ Eddie Guardado, another Northern California native, closed out Minnesota’s 5-2 win over the Giants on Thursday night.

“I saw a lot of people I haven’t seen for a while,” said Lohse, who pitched over six innings for a seventh straight start. “The main thing was to throw strikes, get ahead of hitters and let the defense do their job. I’ve been feeling more comfortable with my stuff.”

A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs and Cristian Guzman had three hits for the Twins, who won two of three in this interleague series between division leaders.

Lohse (5-4) retired the first 11 hitters he faced. Rich Aurilia singled with two outs in the fourth to become the first San Francisco baserunner.

“Not too many people know about him,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You’re going to hear about him. He’s been our most consistent pitcher. He hasn’t had too many bad outings.”

Lohse, 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA over his last seven starts, gave up two runs and seven hits. He walked none and struck out four, and is beginning to generate some all-star talk.

“I’d push him right now with his record the way it is now,” Gardenhire said. “People understand he’s becoming one of the better pitchers in the league. He continues to learn and develop himself into a pitcher.”

Guardado finished for his 17th save in 17 chances. He set a team record with his 24th straight save, one more than LaTroy Hawkins had in 2001.

“Lohse pitched so well I didn’t want to blow it for him,” Guardado said. “I made it interesting in the ninth.”

Barry Bonds walked and Benito Santiago singled to open the inning, but Chris Gomez knocked down an infield grounder headed up the middle and turned it into an out.

“We call that a hard save,” Gardenhire said. “The play Gomez made was a game saver.”

Jesse Foppert (3-5) lasted five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked four.

“They showed they could attack the ball right off the bat,” Foppert said. “I need to make better pitches. I couldn’t get ahead in the count.”

Guzman tripled with one out in the first and scored when Doug Mientkiewicz singled. Guzman added an RBI single in the fourth.

Bobby Kielty singled home another run in the third and Pierzynski tripled home a run in the fifth.

“I hit it good, but I had to take off running because I knew it wasn’t going anywhere,” Pierzynski said of his shot high off the right field wall.

J.T. Snow became just the third Giant to record a splash hit into McCovey Cove, the body of water just beyond right field. Of the 26 such hits, Bonds has 23 of them and Felipe Crespo has two.

Snow’s fifth-inning homer, his second of the season, was a two-run shot that cut the Twins’ lead to 4-2.

“It’s meaningless because we lost,” Snow said.” That’s the best team we’ve faced all year. They have a little bit of everything, and they are aggressive.”

Snow has 23 career interleague home runs and has driven in 72 runs in 77 games.

Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth, scoring Torii Hunter to makeit 5-2.

Notes

Giants RHP Jerome Williams, who left Wednesday night’s game early with a tender left ankle, is expected to make his next scheduled start Tuesday against the White Sox in Chicago. … Guzman’s first-inning triple tied him with Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra for the AL lead with eight. … The Twins scored in the first inning in all three games against the Giants. … Hunter stole his first base of the season in the seventh after getting caught seven times. … Snow entered the season ninth on the career interleague list for RBIand 18th for home runs.

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