Hunter goes 4 for 4, drives in 4 as Twins roll Indians 9-3
CLEVELAND (AP) Torii Hunter has a simple philosophy about winning.
''It cures everything,'' he said. ''The steak goes down better. The wine tastes better. The sleep is better. It's fun to win.''
Hunter was the cure for everything in Minnesota's 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. He went 4 for 4, including a solo homer, and drove in four runs, leading the Twins to their eighth win in nine games.
The Twins are 16-7 since April 13 after starting the season 1-6.
''The first seven games it wasn't us,'' he said. ''We were down, but we found our groove. We started playing Twins' baseball.''
Hunter, answering a high and tight pitch from Trevor Bauer in the fifth inning, homered into the bleachers in left on the next pitch to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead. Hunter added a three-run double in the sixth. He doubled in the first and singled in the third.
Hunter said the inside pitch was a changeup.
''It was nothing personal,'' he said. ''It just got away from him. It had so much run it almost hit me in the face. I kind of looked around like, `What was that?'''
Hunter, with a chance for a five-hit game and a cycle if he tripled, walked on four pitches in the ninth.
Mike Pelfrey (3-0), rebounding from his shortest outing of the season, gave up two runs in seven innings.
Bauer (2-1) allowed five runs in five-plus innings as Cleveland's problems continue. The Indians (10-18) have the worst record in the American League and are 4-9 at home.
Michael Brantley hit a solo homer for Cleveland in the eighth.
The Twins' decision to sign the 39-year-old Hunter to a one-year contract in December, is paying big dividends. He has 13 hits and 11 RBIs in his last seven games and is batting .280 for the season.
''It was a really nice night for him,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''The big hit of the night was when we separated ourselves when he cleared the bases.''
Joe Mauer had an RBI single in the first while rookie Eddie Rosario added a run-scoring single in the second for Minnesota.
The Indians tied it in the third on Carlos Santana's RBI double and a run-scoring single by Lonnie Chisenhall.
Kennys Vargas' RBI single gave Minnesota the lead for good in the fourth.
Rosario continued his impressive first week in the majors. He homered on the first pitch he saw in his first major league at-bat Wednesday and drove in two runs Thursday.
Pelfrey lasted 3 1-3 innings Sunday against the White Sox despite being handed a 7-0 lead.
Bauer, who hasn't won since April 15, was pulled after Kurt Suzuki's leadoff double in the sixth.
WANT TO RACE?
Hunter was thrown out trying for second after his third-inning single. He briefly considered going to third after his key double in the sixth. Asked if he still has a triple in him he laughed and said, ''Anyone who wants to race, let me race 'em, see how that turns out.''
Twins: Mauer was back in the lineup after having Thursday off, the first game he missed this season. He has played in 29 of Minnesota's 30 games.
Indians: LHP TJ House (sore shoulder) threw at 90 feet Friday and will increase his throwing program in the upcoming days. He was placed on the 15-day DL on May 1.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes, who recorded his first win of the season Monday, will start Saturday. After going 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA last season, Hughes is 1-4 with a 5.02 ERA in seven starts. He lost to the Indians on April 18.
Indians: LHP Bruce Chen will have his contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus to start Saturday. His last major league appearance came against the Twins on Aug. 28, while pitching for Kansas City. He allowed six runs and five hits in one inning.