Twins 8, Diamondbacks 4

Preview | Box Score | Recap

PHOENIX (AP)—Nothing like a trip to Arizona to straighten out a baseball team’s troubles.

Doug Mientkiewicz drove in three runs with a home run and double to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 Saturday night and move into a virtual tie with the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central.

“It’s that time of year. You never know what’s going to happen,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You just keep playing. We get to the All-Star break with our head up, and we’ll be OK.”

Just a few days ago, the White Sox were coming off a sweep of the Twins in Minnesota.

“That’s how quick the world turns, doesn’t it?” Gardenhire said. “We get swept at home by then and all of a sudden people are saying `Well, you’ve got to start rebuilding.’ Then they lose two and we win two and we’re right back tied with them.”

The Twins bats have come alive in the desert.

Mientkiewicz has just five homers all season, but two in the last two games.

Luis Rivas and Joe Mauer also homered for the Twins, and Terry Mulholland earned his first victory in his first start of the season.

“I think the guys are feeling pretty good about themselves,” Gardenhire said. “We said once we start clicking, it’s going to be pretty fun.”

The Twins, who entered the series on a five-game losing streak, can sweep three games from the Diamondbacks with a victory against Randy Johnson on Sunday.

Luis Gonzalez and Juan Brito homered for Arizona, 0-2 under new manager Al Pedrique and losers of 13 of its last 15.

On Friday night, the Diamondbacks rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie it before losing 6-5. Arizona was down 6-0 on Saturday before mounting another comeback to cut it to 6-4.

But Grant Balfour stifled the rally with two perfect innings of relief, striking out five batters—all swinging. Juan Rincon threw a scoreless final two innings for his second save.

Similar relief performances by J.C. Romero and closer Joe Nathan helped the Twins win Friday.

“Confidence in pitching is huge,” Balfour said. “If you’re going out there and doing well, it just seems to roll along. One guy picks it up, and the next guy comes out, and we just feed off of each other.”

Mulholland (1-3) got the start after the Twins optioned rookie Matt Guerrier, the team’s fifth starter, to Triple-A Rochester. He allowed four runs on five hits in five innings to get his first victory since Aug. 17 of last season, when he was pitching for Cleveland.

Mulholland said he wished he would have lasted longer, but doesn’t care whether he’s a starter or a reliever.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “What matters is having a big league jersey on and being given the ball to go out there and get hitters out and contribute to a ballclub—do all you can do to help these guys get to the playoffs and hopefully the World Series.”

Minnesota pounded starter Andrew Good for six runs on three homers, two doubles and a single in 2 2-3 innings.

Pedrique said Good’s velocity was down and he wondered if something was wrong with the righthander’s arm. But Good said his arm was fine, he just had a bad night.

“The changeup, during the game, I wasn’t throwing for strikes. I need to depend on that pitch and unfortunately it wasn’t there,” Good said, “and my fastball was up. Put those two together and it’s not too good.”

Good (0-2) walked Jacque Jones with one out in the second, then Mientkiewicz homered and Rivas followed with a homer just over the left-field fence and it was 3-0.

Lew Ford led off the third with a double, then Mauer homered into the deepest part of the ballpark, just left of the 413-foot sign in left-center to make it 5-0.

Jones singled with two outs, then Mientkiewicz doubled him home to put the Twins up 6-0 and end Good’s night.

Gonzalez’s 15th home run of the season cut it to 6-1 in the fourth. Arizona scored three times of Mulholland in the fifth. Alex Cintron singled, then Brito hit his second home run of the season. Scott Hairston tripled and scored onSteve Finley’s groundout to make it 6-4.

Notes

Mulholland is playing for his 10th team in 18 major league seasons. … Hairston has five triples. … Gardenhire said Matthew LeCroy will start atfirst base against Johnson on Sunday.

Related Articles