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Minnesota (12-5) «2011100128110
Kansas City (6-10)001001010361

Thome shows his power, Twins clinch winning April

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leaning against the rail at the top step of the dugout, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stared blankly ahead, a look of what-just-happened amazement on his face.

Should he argue David DeJesus' homer? If he does, what would his argument be? Ask for a replay?

No idea what to do, not wanting to get ejected for something silly, Gardenhire did nothing.

"I didn't know how to argue that one," Gardenhire said after Minnesota's 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

The Twins had a big night with the bats, pounding out 11 hits, most at the most opportune moments. Jim Thome homered and drove in three runs, Michael Cuddyer had two RBI and J.J. Hardy homered as the Twins took advantage of a second straight early exit outing by Gil Meche (0-2) for their first winning April (12-5) since 2007.

Pavano (3-1) was sharp after a shaky previous start, keeping the ball down better, getting more first-pitch strikes than he did in getting hammered in a six-run third inning by the Royals on Sunday.

But what made an otherwise successful all-around night peculiar was what happened in the sixth inning.

It came with one out, when DeJesus lifted a fly to right that appeared to clear the wall for a homer, even after it bounced off a fan's hands and trickled to the base of the wall.

Cuddyer and center fielder Denard Span didn't know what to do, so they stood there looking back at the umpires, unsure if it was a homer or fan interference.

DeJesus didn't care. He didn't see the umpire give the whirling homer signal and kept running, churning around third after getting the wave home from third base coach Dave Owen.

"Once I touched second, I saw Dave Owen waving me," DeJesus said after his third career inside-the-park homer. "It was like, 'all right, I have a chance."'

DeJesus easily beat the relay throw standing up and ran giddily into the dugout.

Across the diamond, Gardenhire stewed in stunned, what-do-I-do silence.

"I could have gone out and argued that my guys didn't know it was a home run and could have gone and chased the ball if you hadn't signaled that, but I thought that was a stupid argument because I thought it was a home run," he said. "If they reviewed it, they surely would see it was a home run. So I thought this was the best way, give him an inside-the-parker. I didn't know what was happening, what was going on there."

Pavano didn't appear to care -- it was likely going to be a homer either way -- finishing off a perfect seventh and a good bounce-back game. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits, surviving a few deeper-than-needed counts after throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 24 hitters he faced.

It made DeJesus' homer a nonfactor.

"Other than the fact that I was 2-1, 3-2 on a lot of these guys, I made some adjustments from last start to this start," said Pavano, who didn't walk a batter despite the deep counts.

Coming off a shaky outing against the Twins on Saturday, Meche labored from the start, running deep into counts and trouble nearly every at-bat.

He allowed two runs in the first inning, on Justin Morneau's broken-bat RBI single that ticked off second baseman Alberto Callaspo's glove and Cuddyer's line-hugging RBI double to the corner in left. The Twins got another run on Cuddyer's fielder's choice in a walk-filled third inning and Meche was done in the fourth after consecutive walks, giving him five in nine at-bats.

Minnesota followed with a run on Callaspo's throwing error -- caused by Denard Span's hard slide at second -- off Brad Thompson.

Meche allowed four runs on four hits with five walks in 3 1/3 innings.

"It's embarrassing to pitch that way when I know what I'm capable of," Meche said. "I'm getting tired about talking about the same thing over and over. You've got to turn the page. You've got to figure it out and do your job. I'm not doing my job."

Thome hit a slicing solo homer to left in the fifth inning off Brad Thompson and added a game-sealing, two-run double in the ninth off Robinson Tejeda -- a big night that got lost in the hubub of a non-disputed homer.

Notes
  • A moment of silence was held before the game for Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor, who was found dead in his Salt Lake City hotel room on Tuesday.
  • Hardy's homer snapped an 0-for-14 streak.
  • Morneau made a sprawling catch at first on Jason Kendall's liner in the fifth inning, preventing what was sure to be extra bases. Kendall was hitless in three at-bats, ending his hitting streak at 14 games.
 
Copyright 2015 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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The Twins hadn't had a winning record in April since 2007. Jim Thome helps change that. (US Presswire)
The Twins hadn't had a winning record in April since 2007. Jim Thome helps change that. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

D. DeJesus
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Minnesota

J. Thome
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF4110110 .258
Orlando Hudson, 2B4130100 .281
Joe Mauer, C5010013 .333
Justin Morneau, 1B3111201 .356
Michael Cuddyer, RF4112103 .324
Jason Kubel, LF4110101 .185
Jim Thome, DH5123003 .241
    Alexi Casilla, PR-DH0000000 .000
J.J. Hardy, SS5111021 .226
Brendan Harris, 3B4100101 .172
Totals38811774  
Batting
2B - Joe Mauer (6, Thompson), Michael Cuddyer (3, Meche), Jim Thome (2, Tejeda)
HR - Jim Thome (3, Thompson), J.J. Hardy (3, Farnsworth)
RBI - Justin Morneau (11), Michael Cuddyer 2 (15), Jim Thome 3 (8), J.J. Hardy (8)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (2), Michael Cuddyer (5)
SB - Denard Span (5, 2nd base off Meche/Kendall), Orlando Hudson (1, 2nd base off Meche/Kendall), Michael Cuddyer (2, 2nd base off Tejeda/Kendall)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Morneau-Hardy
Minnesota Twins
Carl Pavano (W,3-1) 7422051 4.24
Matt Guerrier 1111110 0.96
Brian Duensing 1100010 2.16
HBP - DeJesus (by Matt Guerrier)
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 103-69, Matt Guerrier 20-9, Brian Duensing 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 8-7, Matt Guerrier 1-1
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 24, Matt Guerrier 6, Brian Duensing 4
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, RF3122000 .277
Scott Podsednik, LF4001001 .415
Billy Butler, 1B4000022 .281
Jose Guillen, DH4000010 .354
Alberto Callaspo, 2B4020000 .302
Rick Ankiel, CF4000012 .207
Jason Kendall, C3100111 .333
Alex Gordon, 3B3010010 .231
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3110012 .310
Totals3236317  
Batting
2B - Yuniesky Betancourt (2, Pavano)
HR - David DeJesus (2, Pavano)
RBI - David DeJesus 2 (8), Scott Podsednik (7)
2-OUT RBI - David DeJesus (5)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Alberto Callaspo (1, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
Gil Meche (L,0-2) 3.1444520 11.37
Brad Thompson 1.2211101 5.40
Dusty Hughes 2100010 6.43
Kyle Farnsworth 1211001 4.76
Robinson Tejeda 1222110 11.74
IBB - Morneau by Brad Thompson
WP - Gil Meche (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 84-43, Brad Thompson 27-15, Dusty Hughes 24-15, Kyle Farnsworth 19-11, Robinson Tejeda 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 7-1, Brad Thompson 3-2, Dusty Hughes 1-4, Kyle Farnsworth 2-1
Batters Faced - Gil Meche 19, Brad Thompson 8, Dusty Hughes 7, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Robinson Tejeda 6
Game Information
Attendance - 16605
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Greg Gibson