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Continued: Twins' Baker not quite perfect, but it will do

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 2, 2007 - 10:51 PM

Royals manager Buddy Bell sent the veteran Sweeney up to pinch hit for Tony Pena Jr. Sweeney had come off the disabled list between games. This was the Royals captain's first at-bat since July 21.

After taking a called strike, Sweeney got jammed by Baker's sinker but fisted the pitch on a looping arc to center field.

"It's been so long since I've had a hit in the big leagues, I was going to ask him for the ball," Sweeney said.

Baker did a little hop step when Sweeney's ball landed, but he remained poised enough to retire David DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek, ending the game.

Afterward, Baker kept it all in perspective. He returned from Rochester in May and has gone 7-4 in his past 14 starts. Last week, his wife gave birth to the couple's second child, and he was flying to Louisiana between starts.

"I don't think he could be any higher than he is right now," Gardenhire said. "We're very happy for him. He's a big part of our rotation right now, throwing the ball very, very well."

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

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