Hunter crushes way to 7th on Twins' HR list
Veteran hits 201st and 202nd homers Saturday to pass Gaetti
MILWAUKEE -- Torii Hunter certainly left his mark on the Twins' 5-2 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Saturday. The right fielder also made an impression in the Twins' history books.
Hunter, who was playing in his 1,300th game with Minnesota, hit home runs No. 201 and 202 in a Twins uniform, passing Gary Gaetti for seventh place on the club's all-time home run list.
"That's pretty good. I didn't know that," Hunter said afterward. "To pass Gary Gaetti, The Rat, I watched him when I was younger. I'm honored to pass him. You got to play and stay healthy to do that stuff."
Before Hunter's homers, though, it was his veteran seasoning -- the experience that comes along with playing 19 years in the big leagues -- that might've helped the Twins take a lead they would never relinquish.
Hunter led off the fifth inning with a double down the left-field line off Brewers starter Matt Garza. After a walk to catcher Chris Herrmann, Hunter was able to time Garza's sequence to the plate and attempted to steal third base. A foul ball forced him back to second, but the damage was possibly done. Twins left fielder Eduardo Escobar then hit a towering homer into the right-center-field bullpen on the next pitch.
"I think Torii distracted [Garza] a bit when he tried to steal, and he started to change his rhythm a little bit," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "That's why Escobar got a good pitch to hit. That was a huge hit."
"I went with my gut, went with my instincts," Hunter said. "[Garza] had a little rhythm of looking at me then looking at the plate, and then would go home. I just timed it."
Hunter's first homer came the very next inning, a blast into the left-center-field bleachers. He added an insurance run with a solo shot to center field in the ninth.
Although Hunter's power numbers had been down recently, the 39-year-old knew a performance like Saturday's was possible.
"The last couple of weeks, I've been hitting the ball well," Hunter said. "The numbers don't show it, but it's beyond the numbers. I just have to keep that same feeling. When you have days like today, you just have to enjoy it."
How does it feel for Hunter to play 1,300 games with the Twins?
"How do you get to 1,300 and you're only 29?" Hunter jokingly replied.
"It's great to have 1,300 games with the Minnesota Twins. This is where it all started. Back where I grew up, where I learned how to be a man and a baseball player. I'm honored."