Ortiz enjoys another quality start

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 28, 2007 - 12:08 AM

DETROIT - When the Twins acquired veteran pitcher Ramon Ortiz this winter, few people viewed it as a quality signing.

But one month into his Twins career, he is 5-for-5 in quality starts.

Ortiz held the Detroit Tigers to two runs Friday night, despite allowing five hits and four walks. He received a no decision as the Twins rallied late for a 5-3 victory.

A pitcher must go at least six innings and hold the opposition to three runs or fewer to receive a quality start.

Last season with Washington, Ortiz had one quality start in his first eight tries and finished the year 11-16 with a 5.57 ERA. This year, he's is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA.

"That wasn't his best performance," manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday. "A lot of pitches [107], but he gave us everything he had."

Hunter's streak continues

Torii Hunter singled in the second inning, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. The streak survived even though he was hit in the face Thursday by Kansas City's Zack Greinke in his lone plate appearance.

Hunter said he'd never been hit in the head until Kyle Lohse gave him a concussion with a fastball to the noggin in spring training. Now, this is two pitches above the neck in two months.

"I'm not scared," Hunter said. "That's something they don't have to worry about. I won't be scared in there."

Hunter said he had 32 text messages when he arrived in Detroit, some expressing concern and some kidding him about getting hit in the lip. He said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter texted to say he looked like Mush Mouth from "Fat Albert."

Mauer gets a break

Joe Mauer was not in the starting lineup for only the second time this season. Gardenhire said Mauer was going to sit either Friday or today, with a day game after a night game, and chose to sit him against lefthander Nate Robertson.

Gardenhire also said Mauer is battling a sore quadriceps muscle. Mauer said he's "a little banged up, like everybody." Gardenhire predicted Mauer would catch the series' final two games.


• Only one American League third baseman has yet to commit an error: the Twins' Nick Punto. Detroit's Brandon Inge entered the series with three errors, but he always makes big plays against the Twins. Another example came in the first inning, as he made an over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to retire Luis Rodriguez.

• The Twins are off Monday, but Gardenhire said they won't skip any of the starting pitchers, keeping the rotation intact. That means Sidney Ponson, Boof Bonser and Ramon Ortiz are scheduled to start the three games next week in Tampa Bay.

• Jeff Cirillo, who is recovering from knee surgery could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday, Gardenhire said. The manager hinted that Luis Castillo (strained quad) could return today but amended that after the game, saying Castillo would more likely return Tuesday, as well.

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