Unheralded players help Twins cap sweep of Padres

Backups, along with prospects who began the season in the minors, are enjoying time in the spotlight for heroics that have altered the Twins' fortunes.

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The Canadian held out a fist toward the catcher and said, "It's all because of this man."

The catcher held out his fist -- for a bump -- and responded, "We don't get there unless you hit it."

In recent years, this would have been an exchange between former MVPs Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. On Sunday, it was a different Canadian, outfielder Rene Tosoni, and a different catcher, Drew Butera, following the Twins' 5-4 walk-off victory over San Diego that completed a three-game sweep of the series and continued their run of revival.

Tosoni hit a big RBI double in the seventh, and Butera's grounder in the ninth deflected off of Chase Headley's glove at third and into left, enabling Delmon Young to score the winning run from second.

It has been the contributions from unheralded players such as Tosoni and Butera -- and, on Sunday, Luke Hughes and Matt Tolbert -- that have helped the Twins win seven in a row and 14 of 16 games. Most Twins regulars have either been broken down or have swung broken bats this season. Until they get back in the lineup and get locked in, the Twins will take runs any way they can get them.

And the replacements have bunted, stolen bases, put the ball in play and hustled. It hasn't worked all the time, but lately, it has been enough for the Twins to take advantage of outstanding starting pitching. Their victory Sunday lifted them out of last place in the AL Central for the first time since May 8.

"When you win, you get confidence," right fielder Michael Cuddyer said, "and it's just not one or two people who gets confidence, the whole team gets confidence."

The Twins trailed 3-1 in the seventh inning when several players decided to step up.

Hughes reached first on a throwing error by Headley. Cuddyer scored to cut the deficit to 3-2. Tosoni pinch hit for catcher Rene Rivera and dug in against slider-intensive Mike Adams, one of the best relievers in the league.

An eight-pitch battle broke out. With the count 3-2, Tosoni fouled off two pitches, then stroked a double down the right field line to score Hughes.

Tosoni is batting .190. He has been called up twice this season and is trying to prove he belongs. Sunday, he came off the bench and got a hit off of a talented reliever during a key moment.

"Tosoni got me fired up seeing his at-bat," Tolbert said. "I was like, 'All right, I've got to do my part.' "

Tolbert hit a 2-1 fastball into the gap in left-center, scoring Tosoni with what was the lead run at the time. Will Venable's RBI infield hit tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth, but Butera's heroics in the ninth capped a fine day for the fill-ins.

The Twins are digging themselves out of the massive hole they dug earlier in the season, a handful of dirt at a time.

First, they had to stop being the worst team in baseball, record-wise. Now they are no longer the worst team in the American League -- and have passed the Royals in the Central while doing so.

The next step is to get back to .500 -- at 31-39, the Twins are still eight games under. Then they have to see where they are at the All-Star Break.

They are not back in "it" yet. But because of recent contributions from players such as Tosoni, Hughes, Tolbert and Butera -- however frequent or infrequent they have been -- the self-inflicted wounds the Twins suffered over the first two months of the season no longer appear mortal.

"We are all carrying each other," Tosoni said. "It's a team sport, right? Awesome."

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

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Final123456789RHE
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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 - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco 7 Top 9th Inning
Colorado 9
Washington 3 Bottom 3rd Inning
Los Angeles 2
Texas 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 3
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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Philadelphia
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Miami
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Tampa Bay
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Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7 2nd Qtr 9:21
Louisville 7
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
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(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 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
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