Castillo, Hunter lift Twins past Braves, send Davies to dugout early

Turning Point: Kyle Davies walked Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau with one out in the fourth, then went 3-0 against Torii Hunter before giving up a two-run double.

Goat: Davies allowed five runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. It was the right-hander's shortest outing of the season.

Figure this: Two Twins pitchers became fathers on Tuesday. Juan Rincon's wife gave birth to a baby boy -- Santiago. Carlos Silva's wife gave birth to a baby boy named Justin.

Quotable: "We call him two-uh. That's for two [hits] a day." -- Torii Hunter on Castillo

-- ESPN.com news services

Twins 7, Braves 3

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- On a team that has been anything but consistent this season, Luis Castillo is standing out at the top of the Minnesota Twins lineup.

Castillo did it all for Minnesota on Tuesday night.

"We call him two-uh," Torii Hunter said. "That's for two [hits] a day."

Castillo did Hunter one better against Atlanta. He had three hits, drove in two runs and made a couple of stellar plays at second base to lead the Twins to a 7-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Rookie Kevin Slowey (2-0) gave up two earned runs and seven hits in another solid performance, and Torii Hunter added a two-run double for the Twins.

Jeff Francoeur and Scott Thorman hit solo homers for the Braves, but it wasn't enough after Kyle Davies came unglued in the fourth. Davies (3-5) allowed five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season -- and the Braves lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

Limping along as he usually does on a pair of gimpy knees, Castillo is having one of the finest seasons of his 10-year career. His batting average has hovered in the .330s all season and he has played his usual sticky-fingered defense at second.

"He's been a great player in this league for a long time," said Mike Redmond, who also played with Castillo in Florida. "If you need a guy to make a great play or you need a guy to get on base, he's the best I've ever seen."

His steady bat and superior glove were on display against Atlanta. His two-out, two-run single in the fourth chased Davies and gave the Twins a 5-1 lead that Castillo helped preserve with two eye-popping plays in the fifth.

After Thorman homered to make it 5-2, Castillo scooped up a slow roller from Yunel Escobar and shoveled it with his glove to Justin Morneau at first base to get the out. Pete Orr was up next and ripped a line drive right at Castillo's shins, but he was able to snatch it before stumbling onto his backside.

He later added a lightning-quick turn on a double play in the sixth, but despite a long history of success -- first with the Marlins and now with the Twins -- his name rarely comes up in the conversations about the best second basemen in the game.

"I realize that," Castillo said as he sat on a couch with his left thigh and right knee wrapped in ice. "I just go out there, play, and put up numbers. Sometimes people don't see that, but that's fine for me. When I retire, the numbers will be there."

Slowey was the beneficiary on this night. He gave up a homer to Francoeur in the second, but wiggled out of a two-on, two-out jam in the third when Lew Ford caught Brian McCann's fly ball at the warning track to end the inning.

There were plenty of Braves fans in the Metrodome crowd, and those cheering for both teams probably couldn't help but reminisce about the thrilling World Series back in 1991.

Jack Morris threw a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 to lead the Twins to their second championship in what many observers have called one of the greatest World Series of all time.

Braves starter John Smoltz is the only player in the building who appeared in the Metrodome 16 years ago, and Atlanta could have used him on the mound Tuesday night.

Everything was going well for Davies over the first three-plus innings. After giving up a leadoff single to Castillo in the bottom of the first, he retired the next 10 hitters to cruise into the fourth.

"It [stinks] to lose a game that I felt I pitched well," Davies said. "I felt I was battling and doing a good job. I don't know how I let it get away, but I felt good."

Davies walked Michael Cuddyer and Morneau with one out in the fourth, then went 3-0 against Hunter before giving up a two-run double off the baggie in right field. Hunter then stole third base and scored when McCann's throw sailed into left field for a 3-1 lead, and Castillo sent him to the showers five hitters later.

"He was throwing as well as I've ever seen him," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He looked fine to me, but those walks will burn you, no matter where you're playing."

Game notes
Braves SS Edgar Renteria did not play. Cox said he was a gametime decision with a bruised left hand that came from a beaning against the Cubs on Sunday night. ... Two Twins pitchers became fathers on Tuesday. Reliever Juan Rincon's wife, Roselen, gave birth to a baby boy -- Santiago. Starter Carlos Silva's wife, Maria, gave birth to a baby boy named Justin. Rincon was not available to pitch Tuesday night, but Silva was still scheduled to start Wednesday night's game.