Twins 9, Diamondbacks 8

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PHOENIX (AP)—Torii Hunter’s leadership role with Minnesota includes showing his teammates how to play with pain.

Nursing a slight separation of his left shoulder, Hunter hustled to score the winning run in the Twins’ 9-8 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. He scored four runs on four hits, including two homers.

After singling in the ninth inning, Hunter bolted for second and rattled reliever Jose Valverde, whose pickoff attempt to Alex Cintron at second went high for a throwing error.

Hunter scrambled up and lunged toward third, but retreated to second and got back safely by diving under Cintron. Jacque Jones then hit an RBI single.

“I got bone chips in my elbow, my AC joint is separated, I got a broke toe, hamstring, groin—you name it, I got it,” Hunter said. “It’s just the mentality. Some people have to be 100 percent to play; some don’t.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the ninth was vintage Hunter.

“He’s taken it upon himself to try to show some people how to play through injuries,” Gardenhire said.

Michael Cuddyer had a two-run homer and Shannon Stewart drove in three runs for the Twins, who won for the eighth time in nine games.

Juan Rincon (3-2) got the win despite blowing his third save in three tries in the eighth, when pinch-hitter Tony Clark tied the game with a three-run homer.

The rally began when Rincon walked Troy Glaus and gave up a single to Jose Cruz Jr. before Clark’s two-out homer, his eighth and his club-record fifth consecutive pinch-hit. Three of Clark’s homers have come as a pinch-hitter.

“I’ve been fortunate to have squared up some balls and got some balls to find some holes, but outside of that I don’t overanalyze and get too caught up in the result,” he said.

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

Hunter, who also doubled and scored in the Twins’ three-run sixth inning, drove reliever Matt Herges’ first pitch into the left-field seats with one out in the seventh, breaking a 5-all tie. It was his fifth two-homer game, first since May 15, 2004, at the Chicago White Sox.

Herges also allowed Cuddyer’s homer that made it 8-5 after walking pinch-hitter Justin Morneau.

Stewart had a two-run single in the sixth after hitting a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Luis Gonzalez drove in three runs for Arizona, which struggled to its sixth loss in seven games. He had a two-run double and a solo homer off Brad Radke, who allowed eight hits and matched his season high with five earned runs in a season-low five innings.

The Twins scored three times in the sixth to tie it at 5 and chase Arizona starter Shawn Estes.

Hunter led off with a double and scored on Matthew LeCroy’s sacrifice fly.

Then Estes, who allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings, walked Cuddyer for the second time in as many innings. Juan Castro and pinch-hitter Glenn Williams singled, Williams’ hit glancing off Estes’ pitching hand, to load the bases.

Mike Koplove came in to protect a 5-3 lead, but Stewart singled in two runs to tie it.

Estes threw 96 pitches, but manager Bob Melvin took him out because of blood on his hand.

“The seam cut him,” Melvin said. “I mean, his finger wasn’t hurt or anything.”

Radke, notorious for his poor starts (10.50 ERA in the first inning coming in), followed form by giving up four runs in the first.

Craig Counsell and Chad Tracy singled and scored on Gonzalez’s double off the fence in right-center. After an out, Shawn Green hit a run-scoring double, and Royce Clayton capped the outburst with a two-out, RBI double.

But Radke allowed only Gonzalez’s fifth-inning homer, his ninth, over the next four innings.

“We got to Radke early, and he’s been a pitcher that struggles early in the game, and we knew that,” Gonzalez said. “We scored a couple of runs, and we just couldn’t hold it down.”

Hunter cut the deficit to 4-1 with his eighth homer, a 426-foot shot onto the center field overhang.

Minnesota got another run in the fifth, taking advantage of Estes’ leadoff walk to Cuddyer. After a single by Castro and Radke’s sacrifice, Stewart hit a fly to short right field, and Cuddyer beat Shawn Green’s throw to home to make it 4-2.

“I know I’m going to give up some runs in the first inning,” Radke said. “My job is to keep us in the game as much as I can.”

Notes

The game was Minnesota’s first three-homer contest this year. … Counsell’s double was his 19th, tying him for second in the NL. … Gonzalez hadn’t homered at home since May 8 against Pittsburgh. … Minnesota, which led the AL with 57 ground-ball double plays, saw its first threat erased when Arizona turned No. 58 in the first inning.

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