Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 8/28)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 27
Seattle 2Final
Minnesota 5
Game 2: Wednesday, August 28
Seattle 1Final
Minnesota 2
Game 3: Thursday, August 29
Seattle 2Final
Minnesota 0

Mariners 1

(78-55, 39-28 away)

Twins 2

(80-54, 45-23 home)

    8:05 PM ET, August 28, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    SEA 100000000 1 - -
    MIN 00000200 - 2 - -

    W: J. Santana (8-5)

    L: J. Pineiro (13-5)

    S: E. Guardado (38)

    Hunter, Santana power Twins to another win

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins understand the Seattle Mariners' recent struggles -- they've been there, too.

    Torii Hunter

    Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer to help Johan Santana outduel Joel Pineiro and Minnesota beat slumping Seattle 2-1 Wednesday night.

    After losing eight of nine to the Mariners, the Twins are 4-2 against them this year.

    "I'm pretty surprised,'' Hunter said. "They've got a lot of experienced hitters over there. But everybody goes through it. You have some bumps in the road, and I guess now is their time.''

    Bret Boone homered for the third-place Mariners, who have lost four of five, 13 of 22 and are now 4½ behind streaking Oakland. Seattle, 13-38 when scoring three runs or fewer, would be out of the playoffs for the first time since 1999 if a strike were to end the regular season Friday.

    "This is the worst hitting roadtrip I've ever seen in all my years as a manager, as a player, as a coach, as a general manager and whatever else I've done in this game,'' an exasperated Lou Piniella said. "Again, we had chances. We just didn't get them in.''

    Doug Mientkiewicz had three singles for the Twins, who have won seven of nine and kept their AL Central lead over second-place Chicago at 16½ games.

    Hunter's homer in the sixth, after Corey Koskie singled leading off the inning, was all Santana (8-5) needed. He allowed five hits, a run and three walks while striking out five in seven innings.

    "Johan was unbelievable,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Boy, did he pitch.''

    J.C. Romero loaded the bases in the eighth on two singles and a walk, but John Olerud grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the threat.

    Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 38th save in 43 chances after Mike Cameron led off the ninth but was picked off for the second time in the game when Twins bench coach Steve Liddle called for Guardado to throw over.

    "Sometimes coaches go unnoticed,'' Gardenhire said, "but that was pretty darn good.''

    Pineiro (13-5), who lost for the first time in eight starts since July 16 against Baltimore, gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings.

    "Joel pitched outstanding,'' Piniella said. "He made one bad pitch to Hunter, and that's all it takes.''

    Said Pineiro: "I'm not going to cry about not getting any runs. It's just part of the game. Sometimes you come out and they get 10 runs for you. Sometimes, no runs.''

    Lately, it's been more toward the latter for the Mariners. They went ahead in the first, just as they did Tuesday. Boone drove a 1-0 pitch to right field, and the ball barely cleared the giant blue baggie for his 21st homer.

    But Seattle -- which grounded into three inning-ending double plays and was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday -- wasted several chances to add to its lead.

    The M's left two runners on in the second and couldn't score after opening the fourth with back-to-back singles against Santana.

    With one out, Jeff Cirillo at first and Olerud at third, Dan Wilson hit a fly to Dustan Mohr in medium right field. But Olerud, who missed four games last week with a strained groin, was held up and Charles Gipson ended the inning with a broken-bat ground out.

    Edgar Martinez walked leading off the sixth, but Olerud hit into a double play. Cameron hit a two-out single, but he was caught stealing on his first pickoff.

    "We've got to find a way to get some runs across,'' Cameron said. "The pitchers have been working their magic for us, and we can't just sit there and wait for it to happen.''

    Game notes

    Hunter homered for the second straight game after going nearly a month without one. With one more homer by Jacque Jones, Hunter and Jones will be Minnesota's first pair of outfielders to hit 25-plus homers since Tom Brunansky and Kirby Puckett did it in 1987. The Twins won their first of two World Series that year. ... Seattle OF Ruben Sierra, who left Tuesday's game after one inning because of a strained left quadriceps, was held out of the lineup Wednesday. ... Mohr was a late fill-in for Bobby Kielty, who was sick and threw up in the batting cage before the game. "He was watching some of his own swings,'' manager Ron Gardenhire joked. ... Martinez is hitless in his last 10 at-bats.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press