Two-out hits fuel comeback win

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2011 - 10:33 PM

After blowing a seven-run lead in Saturday's 8-7 loss to the Brewers, the Twins turned the tables Sunday, overcoming a five-run deficit in a 9-7 victory at Target Field.


Rene Tosoni (23) celebrated with his Twins teammates after hitting a three-run home run to right-center in the fourth inning against the Brewers on Sunday, cutting Milwaukee's lead to 6-4 in an eventual 9-7 victory.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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After blowing a seven-run lead in Saturday's 8-7 loss to the Brewers, the Twins turned the tables Sunday, overcoming a five-run deficit in a 9-7 victory at Target Field.

Jim Thome hit career homer No. 595 off Zack Greinke in the second inning. After that, all eight of the Twins' runs came with two outs.

"As they say, two-out hits get you to heaven," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's a statement I hear in the dugout all the time. That's good stuff."

With his team trailing 6-1 in the fourth inning, Rene Tosoni came to the plate batting .157, but his three-run homer put the Twins right back in the game.

"The young man put a really good swing on it, and he hit another good one [to the center field wall in the sixth]," Gardenhire said. "These are great experiences for a young hitter getting a chance to play against guys like [Greinke], seeing what they have and actually getting it done, and he'll be better down the road."

Picked to his first All-Star team earlier in the day, Michael Cuddyer delivered two-out RBI singles in the fifth and seventh inning as the Twins crept closer. After Cuddyer got his second hit against Brewers reliever Kameron Loe in the seventh to cut the Brewers' lead to 7-6, Thome walked to load the bases for Danny Valencia, who lined a two-run, go-ahead single to left field.

Mark Kotsay let the ball skip past him, letting a third run to score, as Valencia reached third. Valencia went 6-for-13 with five RBI in the series, raising his average to .229.

"He had one at-bat [against Greinke] where he swung at everything and nothing was close," Gardenhire said. "But if you make a mistake out over the plate, he seems to be hitting it really solid right now. He has a little bit of a plan, too. He knew what [Loe] was throwing and looked for something over a spot, and I think it worked out pretty good."

Blackburn's struggles

Gardenhire pulled starting pitcher Nick Blackburn after the fourth inning, with the Twins trailing 6-4. There was no injury, but Blackburn had just given up five runs on five hits in the top of the fourth.

"He was feeling fine, he was just up [in the strike zone]," Gardenhire said. "The ball was up, and they were banging it around pretty good. Just one of those days."

Blackburn said he needs to make a mechanical adjustment. Including last Monday's 15-0 loss to the Dodgers, he has a 12.54 ERA in his past two starts, after going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 10 starts before that.

Span has setback

Denard Span had hoped to take batting practice on the field this weekend, but he had a setback Friday in his concussion recovery.

He tried running in the heat "and didn't feel too good," Span said. "Friday was that 100-degree day. I'm not sure if that's the reason, but I'm pretty sure it didn't help."

Span took it easy the rest of the weekend. Concussion recoveries often progress with a few steps forward, then one step back.

"It's been very trying for me, but I'm trying to stay positive," Span said.

Span is batting .294 with a .361 on-base percentage and had a chance to make the All-Star team before suffering his concussion, on a slide into Royals catcher Brayan Pena on June 3.

"I truly believe I'm going to be an All-Star more than once," Span said. "I'm not going to stop working until it happens."

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