MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When Minnesota lost Torii Hunter and Joe
Mauer to injuries, manager Ron Gardenhire asked his players to come
together as team.
They have responded with five straight victories.Jacque Jones had two doubles, a triple and four RBI, and the
Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3 Sunday to complete a
three-game sweep."Nothing surprises me in this clubhouse, these guys can play,"
Gardenhire said. "They're into it, pulling for each other and
we're having some fun out there.""We just want to keep putting pressure on the other team,"
Jones said.Lew Ford, playing in place of Hunter, made three great plays in
center field while driving in his seventh run in five games."You know its contagious and when some people are hitting good
others follow," Ford said. "I'm just doing whatever they need me
to do."Minnesota's unselfish team play extended beyond the field. In
the pregame ceremonies, Hunter gave his 2003 Gold Glove award to
Jerry White, thanking the first-base coach for helping him
throughout his major league career."I had tears in my eyes earlier and I'm still in shock," White
said of Hunter's gesture. "I am so happy for him and I thought it
was a great gift to give someone."Luis Rivas hit a two-run homer and Doug Mientkiewicz had three
hits for Minnesota, which has scored four or more runs in 10 of
their first 12 games.Joe Randa homered and doubled, and Tony Graffanino had three
singles for Kansas City, which has lost six in a row -- the Royals'
longest losing streak since dropping eight straight from Sept.
1-10, 2002."We'll still just have to stay positive," Kansas City manager
Tony Pena said. "Sooner or later we'll figure this out."Royals starters still have not won a game this year."The way we're pitching right now, it's going to be a
struggle," Pena said. "We just have to keep playing hard."Kansas City is 4-8 after going 11-1 at the start of last season."It was a lot more fun than it is right now," left fielder
Aaron Guiel said.Joe Roa (1-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in 2 1-3
scoreless innings for his first victory with the Twins. Roa and
bullpen mates Aaron Fultz and Juan Rincon combined to allow two
hits and strike out seven in five innings."There are a lot of gamers out there," Roa said. "Everybody
wants the ball."Starter Seth Greisinger lasted just four innings, giving up
three runs -- two earned -- and six hits.Darrell May (0-3) struck out eight but needed 120 pitches to get
through 5 1-3 innings. He allowed six runs -- four earned -- and nine
hits.With Minnesota trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Jones hit a two-out,
two-run double after Rivas' double and a throwing error by Randa at
third on Jose Offerman's grounder.Rivas made it 6-3 in the sixth with a two-run homer. Four of his
six career hits off May have been homers, and 12 of his 21 home
runs have come against the Royals."He's making a living off our team," May said.Jones added a two-run triple off Shawn Camp later in the inning.Graffanino hit an RBI single in the second, but Minnesota went
ahead 2-1 on Ford's RBI single in the bottom half and Michael
Cuddyer's run-scoring double in the third.Randa homered in the fourth and Kelly Stinnett scored from first
later in the inning when Greisinger threw Graffanino's bunt single
into right field for an error.
Hunter, on the disabled list since April 6 with a strained
right hamstring, received his third consecutive Gold Glove award.
He has one and his mother has one. He is set to come off the
disabled list on Thursday. ... Mauer still has two or three weeks
to recuperate his injured left knee. ... Minnesota's Rick Helling,
recovering from a broken right leg, pitched two innings and threw
45 pitches in a Gulf Coast League game. He also threw 30 pitchers
in a simulated game afterward. ... Rookie SS Andres Blanco got his
first major league hit with a bunt single in the third. He then
stole his first base. ... Kansas City's pitching staff is 0-3 with
8.21 ERA during the six-game losing streak.