Twins 11, Mariners 2
SEATTLE (AP)—Torii Hunter is so gregarious, it’s tough to see through all the smiles to tell whether he really is hurt.
Hunter broke open the game with a fifth-inning grand slam, then left after bruising a shoulder while trying to catch a line drive in the Minnesota Twins’ 11-2 rout of the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
“Trying to play the whole season, that’s all,” Hunter said with a smile after the game. “I didn’t hurt it too bad that I’ll be out … but they say I’ll be sore tomorrow.”
Hunter hooted and joked with teammates while playing cards after the game. He threw them down loudly on a table with his supposedly pained left shoulder, which he said briefly went numb after he tumbled and almost caught Jose Vidro’s sinking liner to center in the sixth inning.
After his first swing in the seventh, Hunter said he could barely advance his left arm to meet his right. So after a weak groundout, he pulled himself from the game.
“Hopefully, it’s not too many games (out),” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He might even play tomorrow.”
Seattle’s starter Wednesday is Felix Hernandez, who hasn’t allowed a run this season.
“If I’ve got to bunt, I’ll play tomorrow,” Hunter said. “I’ll take my whipping like a man. He’ll either get me or I’ll get him.”
Jeff Weaver (0-2), who won the World Series finale for St. Louis last October, allowed seven runs and 10 hits—seven for extra bases—in six innings. That was actually an improvement from his first start, when he gave up seven runs in two innings at Boston.
“Good things to take from it. Got some early outs and wasn’t falling behind,” Weaver said. “Just one too many sliders.”
His ERA dropped from 31.50 to 15.75.
“You look up there and see seven runs and 10 hits and say, `How can you be encouraged by that outing?’ ” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said, adding that he found positives in Weaver’s aggressiveness.
Joe Mauer had three doubles and three RBIs, Jason Tyner doubled twice and had three hits, and Michael Cuddyer drove in three runs. Minnesota’s eight doubles tied a Twins record set against Boston on July 25, 1996, and the Twins had a season-high 15 hits in all.
After striking out Luis Castillo to open the game, Weaver (0-2) allowed three straight extra-base hits. Tyner and Mauer hit consecutive doubles, and Cuddyer tripled for a 2-0 lead.
But Tyner’s RBI single in the fifth off Weaver made it 3-1. Then one pitch after Weaver thought he had struck out Hunter to end the inning on a close but high 0-2 pitch, Hunter connected on a looping, 78 mph slider. He flipped his bat and began his home run trot before Weaver turned his head to watch the ball soar. It landed over the Twins’ bullpen bench, far beyond the left-field wall, for Hunter’s seventh career slam.
“The whole game he was waiting for that slider,” Weaver said.
Hunter is 12-for-25 (.480) with 16 RBIs against Weaver but said it’s uncomfortable to face him because of the pitcher’s motion.
“I got lucky,” Hunter said.
Weaver stomped his right shoe into the turf. Two pitches later, after Jason Kubel lined a double over Suzuki to the center-field wall, the crowd booed Weaver loudly. When Weaver finally ended the inning by covering first base on a groundout, he spiked the ball into the infield dirt and stomped into the dugout.
Ortiz (3-0) gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings and has allowed five runs in 22 innings in his Minnesota debut month, a 2.05 ERA. The other Seattle run came on Jose Lopez’s home run in the sixth. Otherwise, the Mariners blandly beat his two-seam fastballs into the ground.
“I throw strikes. That’s what I do,” Ortiz said.
Suzuki’s leadoff HR tied him with Tommy Harper and Lou Whitaker for 16th place. Rickey Henderson leads with 81. … Ortiz hit Seattle RF Jose Guillen on the right hand with a pitch in the second. Guillen finished the game and went 1-for-3. Hargrove said he’d know more tomorrow but that Guillen seemed OK.