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Twins' Hunter hits grand slam, finishes with 5 RBI in win over M's

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SEATTLE -- With his Twins sinking into irrelevance, Torii Hunter tried a different, unseemly tack.

"You stink," Minnesota's team leader began telling his manager, teammates, even himself in the dugout after the Twins began a road trip 1-6.

Day 2 of this foul-mouthed motivation ended with Hunter hitting the tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and a grand slam in the ninth to lead the Twins to a second consecutive victory over the previously soaring Seattle Mariners, 6-1 on Wednesday.

"Reverse psychology. We do stink ... though awesomely," Hunter said, beaming after his second slam this season against the AL wild card leaders.

The Mariners, who lost for the third time in nine games, stayed a percentage point ahead of the New York Yankees in that race.

"If that's what they want to say to me, that's fine. Whatever works for them," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the team-wide putdown Hunter concocted after a tough loss Monday.

Gardenhire was ejected in the sixth inning while trying to protect Michael Cuddyer from an ejection. That would have exposed a thin bench.

Scott Baker allowed eight hits in 6 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which improved to 5-9 in August. Baker struck out seven and walked two in a sharp, bounce-back outing after he gave up six runs in a 10-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last weekend.

Pat Neshek (7-2) retired Jose Lopez with runners at first and third to keep the game tied in the seventh. Neshek finished a scoreless eighth as Minnesota got back to .500.

The Twins, a playoff team in four of the previous five seasons, weren't declaring themselves back in contention after consecutive wins against the team that entered Wednesday with the third-best record in the major leagues. Minnesota is seven games behind Seattle in the wild-card race -- the same deficit it trailed Detroit in the AL Central when the day began.

But many Twins were keenly watching the game between the Tigers and second-place Cleveland on the clubhouse television as they packed for home after the game.

"Oh, yeah, right about this time last year we were six, seven games back," Hunter said about the team that rallied from 9½ back last Aug. 8 to overtake the Tigers for the division title on the season's final day. "One hundred and sixty-two games. Patience is a virtue."

But as Baker said, "We've got a long ways to go."

Hunter's tiebreaking single off rookie Brandon Morrow also came with the bases loaded, after starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn threw wide of first base for an error on Nick Punto's sacrifice.

Washburn said he "tried to slow my arm down" when he saw second baseman Lopez was late covering first base on Punto's bunt. That put runners at second and third, and Joe Mauer was intentionally walked before Hunter lined Morrow's first pitch for his 80th RBI.

In the ninth, Seattle again walked Mauer intentionally with two outs to load the bases. Hunter then hit his ninth career slam, this one off Sean Green, into the Twins' bullpen. Reliever Joe Nathan caught the ball on a fly and returned the ball to Hunter, so he can commemorate moving one behind Harmon Killebrew on Minnesota's career list for slams.

"Wow, Harmon Killebrew. That's impressive," Hunter said.

Hunter also threw out slow-footed Jamie Burke at second after Yuniesky Betancourt's soft liner dropped in center in the seventh.

"Used to be a shortstop. You know, not too many people can make that throw," Hunter said, cackling.

Rondell White put Minnesota ahead in the fifth with his first home run since last year's AL division series against Oakland. He began the day batting .157 in 15 games after missing more than three months with a strained calf.

Raul Ibanez tied it at 1 in the sixth with his sixth home run in nine games.

Minnesota's Jason Bartlett left the game with a strained left hamstring after beating out an infield single to start the sixth. Gardenhire said his shortstop will "probably" go on the disabled list before Friday's game against Texas.

Washburn (8-10) then walked Mauer before plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called out slumping slugger Justin Morneau on strikes for the second out. Washburn then fanned Cuddyer swinging and pumped his fist. Gardenhire came out to break up Cuddyer jawing with Cederstrom, and was immediately ejected. The umpire and manager shouted at each other for about a minute before Gardenhire stomped off.

It was the third ejection of the season for Gardenhire and the 31st of his managerial career.

Washburn allowed seven hits and two runs -- one earned -- in seven-plus innings, but still lost his fourth consecutive decision. He hasn't won since July 4.

"I hope I'm due," he said.

Notes

Twins INF Tommy Watkins got his first major league hit, in his third game, with a single in the fifth. He also singled in the ninth. ... Washburn struck out five and walked two.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Minnesota

T. Hunter
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 5
Minnesota

S. Baker
IP 6.2
H 8
ER 1
BB 2
K 7
 
Minnesota Twins
Alexi Casilla, 2B5110003 .260
Jason Bartlett, SS3020010 .266
    Nick Punto, PR-SS1000002 .204
Joe Mauer, DH2100311 .305
Torii Hunter, CF5125003 .296
Justin Morneau, 1B5010026 .282
Michael Cuddyer, RF4010035 .277
Rondell White, LF4111004 .164
    Jason Tyner, LF0000000 .279
Mike Redmond, C3100100 .287
Tommy Watkins, 3B4120000 .250
Totals36610647  
Batting
2B - Jason Bartlett (17, Washburn)
HR - Torii Hunter (24, Green), Rondell White (1, Washburn)
SH - Nick Punto (4)
RBI - Torii Hunter 5 (84), Rondell White (7)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter 4 (40)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Torii Hunter 1
DP - Bartlett-Casilla-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 6.2811271 4.53
Pat Neshek (W,7-2) 1.1000010 2.20
Joe Nathan 1000120 1.87
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 86-65, Pat Neshek 14-10, Joe Nathan 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 6-5, Pat Neshek 1-2, Joe Nathan 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 28, Pat Neshek 4, Joe Nathan 4
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, DH4020000 .347
Jose Lopez, 2B4010012 .261
Jose Guillen, RF3000121 .285
Raul Ibanez, LF4121002 .271
Adrian Beltre, 3B4000023 .267
Richie Sexson, 1B4010010 .208
Adam Jones, CF4010032 .261
Jamie Burke, C2010100 .317
   a- Jose Vidro, PH0000100 .319
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4000015 .291
Totals33181310  
a-walked for Burke in the 9th
Batting
HR - Raul Ibanez (12, Baker)
RBI - Raul Ibanez (75)
SB - Ichiro Suzuki 2 (34, 2nd base off Baker/Redmond, 3rd base off Baker/Redmond)
CS - Adam Jones (1, 2nd base by Baker/Redmond)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - J. Lopez-Betancourt-Sexson
E - Jarrod Washburn (1, Throwing)
Seattle Mariners
Jarrod Washburn (L,8-10) 7721251 4.16
Brandon Morrow0100000 2.91
George Sherrill 0.1000010 1.51
Sean Green 1.2244211 3.35
IBB - Mauer by Jarrod Washburn, Mauer by Sean Green
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Washburn 102-68, Brandon Morrow 1-1, George Sherrill 4-4, Sean Green 41-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Washburn 5-11, Sean Green 4-0
Batters Faced - Jarrod Washburn 30, Brandon Morrow 1, George Sherrill 1, Sean Green 9
Game Information
Attendance - 42921
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Tim Welke