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Updated: Friday, June 18, 2004 12:31 AM EDT
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MINNESOTA 6, MONTREAL 4
 

MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Matthew LeCroy came up big in a pinch once again to spark a comeback victory for the Minnesota Twins .

LeCroy hit a pinch two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to tie it and Torii Hunter 's RBI double put the Twins in front for good as they completed a three-game sweep of the reeling Montreal Expos with a 6-4 victory.

A catcher who plays a utility role, LeCroy is 3-for-3 with three homers as a pinch hitter this season.

"I tried to get a ball I could drive," LeCroy said. "Luckily, he made a mistake ... probably his only one all night, and I took advantage."

Minnesota trailed, 3-1, with one out in the seventh when LeCroy belted his sixth homer into the left field seats off Montreal starter Livan Hernandez . An inning later, Hunter chased Hernandez and plated Lew Ford with a double to the right-center field gap.

"We call LeCroy 'Matty Ramirez,'" Hunter joked. "That's how he's swinging."

"Hunter's just being nice to me," LeCroy said.

Called up Saturday from Class AAA Rochester, Matt Guerrier and made his first major league start for the Twins. The righthander gave up three runs - two earned - and six hits in four innings.

"I'm glad to get my foot in the door and get it out of the way," Guerrier said. "I kept it close for four innings."

Aaron Fultz (3-2) tossed a scoreless seventh for the win. Joe Nathan relieved Grant Balfour with two on in the eighth and recorded the final five outs for his 18th save.

"To put a zero up there late in the game is crucial," Nathan said. "The way we've played the last few weeks, we want to keep the lead late in the game. Things have gone well quickly."

Hernandez (3-7) tossed five scoreless innings before running into trouble. The burly righthander allowed five runs, eight hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

"I felt good, I didn't feel tired," Hernandez said. "It was two pitches and they drove the ball good ... and that's it."

Hernandez is 0-4 in his last five starts, despite pitching into the seventh inning in each outing.

Jose Vidro collected his 1,000th career hit when he homered in the third inning for Montreal, which has lost six straight games.

"If we would have come up with the win, I would have felt a lot better," Vidro said. "I know I'm not going to stop there, but unfortunately for us, we end up with a loss again tonight."

Vidro's blast put the Expos ahead, 3-0, but Doug Mientkiewicz hit a solo homer in the sixth inning to spark Minnesota.

"We had them where we wanted them," Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "It should have been 5-0 or 6-0, but we weren't able to get the key hits."

Ford's single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games for the Twins, who have won eight of 10.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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