But that was his assignment Sunday, his first game back from an injury, and Hunter came through big, hitting a three-run homer in Minnesota’s 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
“This is the worst job a man can have—DH,” said Hunter, who was out since April 7 with a strained right hamstring. “I don’t want to do it again, though I think I’ll have to do it tomorrow. You hit a home run and you have to do it the next day.
“I didn’t want to be too anxious coming off the disabled list. You want to hit a five-run home run with nobody on.”
In his second at-bat, Hunter hit a 1-2 pitch off Brian Anderson 390 feet over the left-field fence to cap a four-run third inning.
“(Hunter’s home run) was pretty nice to see,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Torii brings a lot to the table, not just as a player but as a person. He did what stars are supposed to do.”
The Twins scored all their runs in the third with two outs. Lew Ford walked and advanced to second on Jose Offerman’s single. Corey Koskie followed with an RBI single to center, and Hunter capped the rally with his first homer of the season.
“It was just far enough away, and he’s a guy who’s off the plate anyway,” Anderson said. “Giving up four runs when you have two outs and nobody on is a killer. You just can’t let that inning get away from you. It’s just inexcusable.”
Anderson (1-1) allowed four runs and nine hits in 7 2-3 innings, walking one and hitting another batter. He struck out one.
Carlos Silva (3-0) gave up one run and nine hits in seven innings. He struck out two and walked none, and lowered his ERA from 5.82 to 4.50.
“I felt good,” Silva said. “I got a couple of double plays that helped us out.”
With the Twins up 4-1, he worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth by getting David DeJesus to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
“He’s got a power sinker,” Gardenhire said. “That’s what a power sinker is supposed to do.”
Joe Nathan entered and got an out before loading the bases by hitting Aaron Guiel with a pitch and giving up a single to DeJesus. Nathan then walked Mendy Lopez to make it 4-2 before inducing Joe Randa to foul out to the catcher and striking out Tony Graffanino for his sixth save.
“That’s as much pressure as you’re going to have to see with Graffanino up, you had (Carlos) Beltran on deck,” Gardenhire said. “That wasn’t very pretty. If he had faced Beltran, I was just going to take off.”
The Royals scored in the fourth when Juan Gonzalez doubled and Stairs drove
Royals second baseman Graffanino extended his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single in the first inning. It was his fourth consecutive hit. He struck out in his next at-bat. … Twins shortstop Cristian Guzman committed an error in the second inning, his third in two games. … Kansas City short stop Andres Blanco extended his hitting streak to six games. He has hit in six of the seven games in which he’s played. … Royals relief pitcherJustin Huisman made his major league debut in the ninth.