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Twins turn gift into win over Royals

Radke picks up first win in over a month

Knight Ridder Newspapers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire awoke Friday morning after his team played one of its worst games of the season the night before and turned on ESPN.

SportsCenter hadn't been kind to the Twins the night before, but Friday's fare might have qualified as inspirational viewing for a Minnesota team staring up at the first-place Chicago White Sox in the American League Central Division.

"I was watching the Giants catch the Dodgers," Gardenhire said of the show featuring the New York Giants' historic comeback from a 13 1⁄2-game; deficit to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1951 National League pennant. "Thirteen, 12, 11, 10. ... I started feeling better automatically."

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A few hours later, as if peeling the first tab off an advent calendar in December to find a treat, the Twins took advantage of a sixth-inning gift to beat the Kansas City Royals, 5-4, at Kauffman Stadium and ratchet one notch closer to the White Sox with two games left before the all-star break.

Eleven ... ten. ...

Inspired by half-century-old black-and-white footage or just ticked off by the way they played Thursday night, the Twins came out Friday looking motivated and playing crisp baseball.

"I think yesterday we were kind of jet-lagged and tired," center fielder Torii Hunter said, referring to the late arrival of Wednesday night's flight from California. "I think today we came back with a little fire. Tomorrow I think it'll be even better."

Starter Brad Radke (6-8), who had his regular scheduled backed up three days to Friday because of weeks of neck and shoulder pain, said he was pain-free during his 61⁄3; -inning start and pitched like it, earning his first victory since June 1 and first win on the road since last season.

"I just wanted to go out there and be pain-free and feel good," said Radke. "I still gave up four runs in 61⁄3; innings. That's not that great of pitching. But the team picked me up tonight."

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