MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After two months on the sidelines, Brad Radke
is more than ready to join his teammates in the pennant race.
"There was a little more emotion out there tonight,'' Radke
said. "It was like starting the season again.''
Rivas hit a full-count pitch from Darrell May (2-8) for his
second homer of the season, leading Minnesota to its fourth
straight win and 33rd come-from-behind victory.
The Twins increased their lead in the AL Central to 16 games and
feel poised to wrap up a division title with Radke and fellow
starter Joe Mays returning from injuries.
Minnesota (68-43) moved 25 games over .500 for the first time
since winning the World Series in 1991, when it finished the
regular season 95-67.
"It's like making a midseason trade for two quality starters,''
pitching coach Rick Anderson said. "That's amazing what Brad did
Radke struck out a season-high eight in six innings. He allowed
three runs and four hits, walking two. And he did it mostly with
the changeup, which he threw 24 times even though it puts a strain
on his injured groin.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I thought about it a lot, but it
felt good,'' Radke said. "Everything felt good.''
Johan Santana (6-2) combined with three other relievers to pitch
four scoreless innings.
"It was nice to have Brad out there,'' Torii Hunter said. "You
know he only made one mistake, and that's a good thing.''
Brent Mayne hit a three-run homer for Kansas City, which lost
its fifth straight overall and ninth in a row on the road.
"Radke threw the ball real well,'' Mayne said. "He was very
aggressive and he mixed his pitches up.''
With Minnesota trailing 3-2, A.J. Pierzynski led off the eighth
with a bloop single off Byrd. He went to second on Rivas' bunt and
moved to third on Jacque Jones' flyball before Guzman lined a
single to right field.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated,'' Byrd said. "I
feel like I always have to make the perfect pitch. It seemed like
tonight we'd play Guzman to hit to the right and he'd hit to the
left. It seems if we score three runs, they score four.''
Radke, making his first start since May 30, when he
re-aggravated a right groin pull, was sharp early. He did not allow
a hit until Michael Tucker's ground-rule double with one out in the
fourth. But in the fifth, he got himself in trouble.
Joe Randa was hit by a pitch leading off and, one out later,
Neifi Perez singled to put runners on first and second. Mayne hit
Radke's next pitch 394 feet to right for a three-run homer and a
3-2 Royals lead.
"It was a fastball in,'' Mayne said. "I don't know if it was
that bad a pitch, I just hit it.''
Minnesota scored two runs, one earned, off Byrd in the first
inning. Jones led off with a single and scored when Guzman's single
to right field bounced past Aaron Guiel.
Corey Koskie followed with a sacrifice fly to score Guzman, who
reached third on Guiel's two-base error.
Byrd, trying to become the AL's third 15-game winner, settled
down after the first. He retired 12 straight until Pierzynski
singled in the fifth.
The right-hander allowed three runs -- two earned -- and eight
hits in eight innings. He struck out four and walked none. Byrd,
the subject of much trade speculation before the deadline, has not
allowed a walk in 40 1/3 innings.
Byrd was trying to become the first pitcher with five
straight complete games since Curt Schilling in 1999. ... Mayne has
two homers this season after hitting two in all of 2001. ... The
Royals' club record for consecutive innings without a walk is held
by Doug Bird, with 46 2/3 innings in 1976. ... The Twins have not
made an error in 11 straight games, breaking the club record set in
1987 and 2001. ... Minnesota is 10-3 against Kansas City. ...
Minnesota's David Ortiz extended his career-best hitting streak to
16 games with a single in the first. ... Radke was on the disabled
list from May 14-30 and again from May 31-Aug. 3. On May 13 at
Kansas City, he pitched just two innings before pulling his groin.
On May 30, he got just one out against Anaheim, allowing a solo
homer to Darin Erstad, before being removed from the game.