Padres 9, Twins 4

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—Brian Lawrence finally found some luck in the late innings.

Lawrence gave up a tiebreaking homer in the eighth to Torii Hunter, but the San Diego Padres scored six runs in the bottom half to beat the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Sunday.

Mark Loretta’s fourth hit, a two-run single, gave San Diego the lead. Ryan Klesko and Brian Buchanan each added a two-run homer to complete the rally against LaTroy Hawkins (4-1) and Mike Nakamura.

Lawrence (4-7) lost the lead in the ninth inning in each of his previous two starts.

“It’s a big weight off of me,” he said. “It’s just a real good feeling.”

Lawrence left after eight innings this time, trailing 4-3 following Hunter’s ninth homer of the season.

“When I gave up the home run, I thought things were crashing in on me,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t know how to get out from under it. In the bottom of the eighth, it took it all away.”

Lawrence gave up nine hits as the Padres ended the Twins’ three-game winning streak. Rod Beck pitched a scoreless ninth.

“Anything that you do, you can’t look back,” Lawrence said. “They were three really well-pitched games. But that didn’t matter. I lost two of them. You go out and it’s an entirely different day. You have to go out and do your job.”

Hawkins gave up four runs in the eighth after allowing four earned runs in 28 1-3 innings this season for 1.27 ERA.

“I don’t talk whether it’s good or bad,” he said.

Klesko hit his 11th homer of the season off Hawkins, then Buchanan hit his third off Nakamura, who was pitching one day after making his major league debut.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a tired bullpen after using reliever Johan Santana in a spot start Saturday.

“We did the best we could,” Gardenhire said. “Hawkins tried to stretch it out a little bit. But he got the ball a little too much down the middle, and they got us.”

Minnesota starter Joe Mays was denied his fifth straight victory. He worked six innings, allowing two runs and eight hits, before leaving with a 3-2 lead on Doug Mientkiewicz’s two-run homer in the sixth.

“I thought I threw the ball well,” Mays said. “It looked like they were sitting on the changeup, so we kind of put it in the back pocket and started spinning the ball more. All in all I felt good, but I made some mistakes. That’s been my way this season.”

The Padres tied it in the seventh on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Dave Hansen off Hawkins, who then escaped a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout and a groundout.

Loretta singled off Juan Rincon and went to third on Klesko’s second double of the game to start the rally. Sean Burroughs was walked intentionally.

The Padres’ Gary Matthews Jr. hit his first home run of the season leading off the third.

Mark Kotsay and Loretta followed with bunt singles, each down the third-base line. After a double play, Burroughs hit an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

“You have to like Loretta at the plate,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s a clutch hitter, a true pro whose a tough out. He’s gotten some big hits for us this season.”

In the fourth, the Twins answered with one run on three ground singles,capped by Denny Hocking’s RBI. Lawrence ended the inning with two strikeouts.


Twins SS Chris Gomez will probably be sidelined two-to-four weeks with an injured right knee ligament. An MRI exam determined surgery will be not required. He was hurt Friday while attempting to catch a blooper. … Twins 3B Corey Koskie was held out because of a stiff back. He is day-to-day. Hocking started in his place. … Donaldo Mendez, recalled from Triple-A Portland late Saturday night, started at shortstop for San Diego. INF Lou Merloni injured his knee Saturday and SS Ramon Vazquez is out with a strained abdominal muscle. … The Padres decided to delay an MRI exam of Merloni’s injury, instead opting tosee how his condition might improve with therapy.

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