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Twins 7, Cubs 4: Hit parade sinks Cubs

Joe Mauer hit a two-run home run, Brendan Harris had three hits, and Kevin Slowey pitched a masterful five innings (plus a wobbly sixth) to get his ninth win of the season, as Minnesota got things started the right way at Wrigley Field with a 7-4 win. Minnesota pounded out 14 hits for the day to only six for Chicago.

Jason Kubel also homered for Minnesota, providing a much-needed insurance run in the ninth inning.

Slowey was the story of the first five innings for the Twins.  The righthander allowed just one hit, walked no one, and struck out nine - including twice striking out the side - as the Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Mauer's 13th home run of the year put the Twins in front in the third, and singles from Delmon Young, Nick Punto, and Harris - sandwiched around a GIDP by Slowey - put the Twins up 4-0 in the fourth.

In the sixth, however, the Twins starter ran into his first problems of the game.  An infield single and a bleeder through the right side put runners on first and third.  Mike Fontenot took a pair of two-strike pitches, either of which could have been strike three - but neither was called, loading the bases with one out.  Milton Bradley ripped a pitch off the ivy to score a pair of runs, another came home on a groundout - and while Slowey made it out of the inning, his day was done with the Twins clinging to a one-run lead.

Bradley, however, proved to be the goat in the seventh and eighth for the Cubs.  In the seventh, the right fielder lost a fly ball in the sun, which put Twins runners on first and second with none out - and Minnesota was able to bring one runner around to score.  In the eighth, Bradley lost track of the number of outs, and tossed the ball into the crowd after the second out of the inning, as another run scored.

Chicago got one back in the bottom of the eighth off a parade of Twins relievers, but Joe Nathan came on in the ninth to get the save.

Today's three stars:

3. Joe Mauer
Another homer, another two hits and three RBI.  Joe - never leave us.

2. Brendan Harris
Three singles, including an RBI in the fourth inning - and all out of the leadoff spot.  An impressive performance, especially considering that if it wasn't him at the top of the order, it might have been (shudder) Nick Punto.  (Who also had two hits.  But never mind.)

1. Kevin Slowey
His first five innings, the Cubs couldn't touch him - white jersey after white jersey swung through strike three.  The sixth took a bit of the shine off of his start, but overall, another solid start from Slowey.

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