Hunter had a homer and four RBI in his return from the disabled list and Silva pitched seven strong innings to lead the Twins to a 15-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Josh Rabe had a homer and three RBI and Nick Punto had four hits, four runs and three RBI to back Silva (7-9), who gave up one run and six hits and struck out four.
It was the kind of performance the Twins are going to need a lot more of from Silva if they are going to contend for the postseason. Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano are aces at the top of the rotation, but Brad Radke's shoulder is ailing and Silva and Scott Baker have struggled for most of this season.
"He's the key," Hunter said of Silva. "We know what Liriano can do, we know what Santana can do. ... We need him."
Silva was there Monday night, helping to hand the Rangers their seventh loss in eight games. The slide dropped them into last place in the AL West and has prompted general manager Jon Daniels to do some wheeling and dealing at the non-waiver trading deadline.
Daniels acquired All-Star left fielder Carlos Lee from Milwaukee last week, then got Pittsburgh starter Kip Wells and Kansas City's Matt Stairs for a couple of minor leaguers on Monday.
The Twins jumped all over John Rheinecker (4-5) in the first, getting a little help from the Metrodome in a five-run inning.
Lee lost a bloop by Joe Mauer in the lights and Justin Morneau's lazy pop fly dropped among Lee, center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. and shortstop Michael Young for an RBI.
Michael Cuddyer also had an RBI single before Rabe capped the big inning with a three-run homer to left for a 5-0 lead.
Morneau and Punto each had run-scoring singles in the second to push the lead to 7-0, chasing Rheinecker after 1 2/3 innings. Hunter, who spent the last 15 days on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his foot, followed with an RBI single off Joaquin Benoit for the Twins' 10th hit of the game and an 8-0 lead after two.
"It kind of snowballed on him," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "We didn't play that well defensively and probably should've gotten out of those first couple innings with only one or two runs. It's a place that things like that seem to happen."
Rheinecker gave up eight runs and nine hits in the shortest outing of what is shaping up as a rough rookie season. He has gone 0-3 in his last five starts and hasn't lasted longer than 4 1/3 innings in his last four.
Showalter hinted that Rheinecker could be removed from the rotation with Wells' arrival.
"It's real frustrating, especially when you're trying to help the ball club win every time out," Rheinecker said. "We're in contention for this thing."
It was a game in which everything went right for the Twins.
With two outs in the fourth, first base umpire Jim Wolf ruled that Hunter did not go around when he checked his swing with two strikes, though replays showed he might have.
Hunter hit the next pitch into the seats in left for a three-run homer and an 11-0 lead.
"It felt good," Hunter said, sitting on a couch with his left foot in a bucket of ice. "Every player wants to do something the first day you get back."
Hunter had three of the Twins' 18 hits, one shy of their season high.
With offense like this, who needs Alfonso Soriano?
GM Terry Ryan was in talks with Washington GM Jim Bowden about bringing the All-Star outfielder to Minnesota, but a deal never materialized.
Silva gave up a solo homer to Mark Teixeira in the seventh, but received a standing ovation when he left after the inning. Willie Eyre pitched the last two innings.
Of course, it helps when you pitch with a big lead, something Silva knows a little about this season. The Twins have scored 36 runs in his last three starts, and the Twins put 15 on the board when he took the mound against Texas on May 9
"Today's game, everyone was talking about Soriano, Soriano, but it doesn't look like we needed Soriano," Silva said. "It's good. It makes it easy for us when you've got a five-run lead. You go out there relaxed a little more."
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had to leave before the game to receive IV fluids to treat a cold.
- When Lee caught an easy fly ball by Luis Castillo to end the third, the crowd gave him an extended Bronx cheer. So much for "Minnesota Nice."
- Texas rookie Nelson Cruz hit his first career homer in the ninth.