MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -With all those hits
has given up and
waiting impatiently in the minors, the natural assumption is that the
might soon make a change in their rotation.
The Twins aren't listening to the hubbub. They're too busy admiring their 14-7 record when Hernandez starts.
each went deep and drove in eight runs between them, as the Twins heaped four home runs on their usual small-ball approach
to beat the
14-2 on Saturday night.
''I come back in the second half and try to do something good,'' said Hernandez (10-6), who proudly pointed to his 10th double-digit
victory total in 12 seasons after a 16-hit barrage by the home team.
He was flawless for seven innings and matched his season low of five hits allowed against the highest-scoring team in the
''I think sometimes you've just got to give the guy who's out there on the mound credit for making the right pitch at the
right time in the ballgame,'' Texas manager
hit a solo shot, too, to start a six-run sixth inning that ruined Rangers starter
's already-deteriorating night. Right after Mauer's two-run double against reliever
, Morneau - the reigning All-Star Home Run Derby champ - crushed a 1-1 pitch into the seat stacks above right field for his
15th homer and a 12-2 advantage for the surging Twins.
added a two-run home run in the seventh to push the lead to a dozen and give Minnesota a 23-7 record since mid-June, but the
hits came in all shapes and sizes.
Morneau also hit a three-run double, following an intentional walk to Mauer, and now has 73 RBIs. Young had three hits and
two RBIs to raise his average above .300.
doubled twice, once by sneaking into second when Texas left fielder
lazily returned his chopper to the infield. Even backup catcher
, who relieved Mauer for the last two innings, contributed a bouncing single over the mound after a 14-pitch at-bat in the
Harrison (1-1) threw 84 pitches and didn't get any outs in the sixth. He was tagged for nine hits, eight runs and three walks
without a strikeout. After winning his major league debut with seven innings and only five hits and two runs on July 8, Harrison
has been hit hard in his last two starts.
can put the Texas rotation back in a better place. He was scheduled to be activated from the 15-day disabled list and pitch
on Sunday afternoon.
The biggest problem for the Rangers, post-break, has been a sudden disappearance of their mighty offense. They had four regulars
in the All-Star game, but they've managed only eight hits in the last two games.
''It's two games, guys. There's no panic here,'' said second baseman
Hernandez's performance down the stretch will surely be scrutinized, with Liriano looming in upstate New York. The prized
left-hander's comeback from elbow surgery is essentially complete, and agent Greg Genske - who also represents Hernandez -
asked the union to make sure Minnesota is not keeping him in the minors to save money. Liriano is 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA over
his last nine starts for Triple-A Rochester.
''He's one of my friends, but the situation is not easy right now,'' Hernandez said, adding: ''I think nothing is going to
happen, because everybody is pitching good.''
None of the four young guys in the rotation have given any reason to be demoted lately, so Hernandez and his majors-most 178
hits allowed - in less than 128 innings - could make sense to trade. The Twins love his wisdom and leadership of the inexperienced
staff, though, and have offered no hint that his place is insecure.
The wily old Cuban showed why on Saturday, retiring 12 straight batters on the highest-scoring team in the majors after
hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer in the second inning to give the Rangers a brief 2-1 lead.
''He knows how to pitch,''
said he plans to wait until at least Monday to use All-Star DH
in the outfield. Bradley's time in the field has been limited this season in his recovery from knee surgery. ... The Twins
established season highs for homers and runs. ... Rangers C
, who was already fighting a groin strain and was sent home with flu-like symptoms before this series began, will probably
return on Monday. If he does, rookie
likely will be returned to the minors, thus maintaining the possibility of playing for the U.S. Olympic team next month. ...
, who was placed on the disabled list on June 28 with elbow inflammation, is officially done for the season. ... In 35 games
since June 1, Young is batting .350 with 10 doubles, four homers and 24 RBIs. Said Gardenhire of his mammoth homer to center
field: ''That just tells you how much he has inside of him.''