Torii appreciation day at the Dome

He could feel the love from the fans on what might have been his final home game here.

Twins center fielder Torii Hunter heard ovations Sunday when he took the field for pregame warmups and during each of his four at-bats, but he really felt the love in the top of the ninth inning of the Twins' 7-1 victory over the White Sox.

Hunter took his place on the field before the inning began, but, as planned, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sent Jason Tyner out as a substitute.

Right fielder Michael Cuddyer walked over to Hunter just before Tyner ran out.

"Don't cry," Cuddyer said to him.

That's where the script ends. Because there was no way for Hunter to plan for the rush of emotion he felt as the soon-to-be free agent jogged off the field in what may have been his final home game as a Twin.

Most of the announced crowd of 29,382 cheered and called his name. Hunter looked up at some of them and noticed tears. Teammates were tearing up. Hunter became teary-eyed, too.

"I wish you guys could have felt what I felt," Hunter said.

"I thought I was the toughest guy, coming from the hood. Here I am, crying."

Gardenhire told Hunter what he intended to do before the game. Hunter, who made his major league debut with the Twins in 1997, rejected a three-year, $45 million contract offer from the club several weeks ago, and requested that talks be delayed until the end of the season. Indications are that the club is willing to add a fourth year to the deal, but Hunter, 32, might want a five-year contract.

The Twins can negotiate exclusively with Hunter until 15 days after the World Series, then other clubs can bid on him. Hunter would be one of the top free agents on the market, meaning that the Twins could get outbid.

If so, Gardenhire wanted to make sure that Hunter felt the love one more time.

"I told Torii, "That doesn't mean you're out of here,'" Gardenhire said. " 'You want to say, "Thank you." You've had a great year. They want to cheer for you and I think you should tip your hat to them also.'

"We're going to do everything we can. As much as these fans love this young man, I think that is going to go a long ways as to the decision to keep him here. He should be a Minnesota Twin the rest of his life. I don't open the checkbook, but that's my opinion."

Hunter didn't sleep well Saturday night. He gave in and got up at 5 a.m. "and just started packing," he said.

He took a good look around downtown as he drove to the Metrodome. The Twins begin a six-game road trip tonight in Detroit and will finish the season on the road at Boston, after which he'll head straight to his home in the Dallas suburb of Prosper. He'll have a clubhouse attendant pack his things and ship them to his home.

So this was it. Possibly one last time to look around the city and the stadium where he went from a great glove, no-hit prospect to a two-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner.

"I was walking through the hallways of the Metrodome, talking to people I see coming to the Dome," he said. "Everybody was teary-eyed, telling me good luck and God bless, like I was retiring.

"I'm sitting here with a smile, but I'm really burning up inside."

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@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:P.Hughes(15-9) L:K.Gausman(7-7) S:G.Perkins (33)
HR: MIN- None BAL- N.Cruz (36), N.Hundley (4)

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NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit 5 Bottom 5th Inning
Cleveland 1
Seattle 1 Top 7th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona 0 Bottom 5th Inning
San Diego 1
San Francisco 3 Top 1st Inning
Colorado 0
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
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NY Jets
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Houston
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Miami
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Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
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(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
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Penn State
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(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
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Louisiana
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(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 10
Calgary 15
Indiana 71 4th Qtr 0:11
Chicago 69
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