Twins sweep Red Sox 5-3

  • Article by: JEFF SHELMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 16, 2006 - 12:10 AM

Against the AL East leaders, the Twins found dominant pitching and offense from some unexpected sources.

The reality is that things don't go as planned very often. When things go better than expected, it's even more of a rarity.

And then there was the series the Twins completed Thursday night with a 5-3 victory over Boston. Even though things got a bit nerve-wracking in the late innings for the Twins on Thursday night, has a series ever gone better for a team trying to fight its way back to .500?

"It does mean something that we swept Boston and we've never done that in the Metrodome [in a three-game series] in 12 years," Torii Hunter said. "It really means a lot.

"It can't go any better. We played three tremendous games, three really good games. If we can keep playing like this, we won't be 12 games out after the next two weeks. We can't be."

That the Twins were able to sweep a team that began this week with the lead in the American League East is impressive. How the Twins won is even moreso.

A Twins team that has struggled to score runs hit five homers and scored a total of 18 runs against the Red Sox. Jason Kubel hit home runs in each of the three games, Justin Morneau went 6-for-12 in the series and Luis Castillo began hitting the ball.

Maybe more surprising was the quality starting pitching. First was Johan Santana's 13 strikeouts on Tuesday. That wasn't completely shocking. But what happened the past two nights was beyond unexpected.

One night after Brad Radke gave up only one run and five hits in six innings, Carlos Silva had his best outing of the season. Yes, the same Silva who entered Thursday with one quality start in 10 attempts.

Before leaving the game because of cramping in his left hamstring, Silva didn't give up either a run or an extra-base hit in six-plus innings of work.

"In the game, I tried to go pitch-by-pitch and be a little more focused on what I was doing," said Silva, who got a break when David Ortiz's homer-to-be bounced off a Metrodome speaker and dropped in for only a single.

"I felt like I was doing what I wanted to do. I was throwing the ball where I wanted to throw it," Silva said. "This season has been very tough on me. ... I really needed this game."

Silva's performance -- his first victory since May 9 -- was much of the reason why Boston was swept on the road for the first time this season.

After the Twins took a 4-0 lead with single runs in the first, second, third and fifth, the Red Sox had a pair of chances late in the game to at least tie.

In the top of the eighth, the Red Sox turned three hits, a Morneau error and a hit batsman into a pair of runs. It could have been worse for the Twins, but Nathan got out of a bases-loaded jam. The Red Sox scored again in the ninth but Nathan got the dangerous Manny Ramirez -- who went 0-for-11 in the series -- to strike out to end the game.

After a nearly perfect series, a Twins team that has lost 11 of its past 16 road games now wants to play better away from the Metrodome.

"This was a great series for this baseball team," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"It will all be for naught if we don't play better on the road."

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