Not only did the sixth-inning runs give the Twins a bigger lead, they allowed Baker to leave the game with a boost of confidence."You run him back out there and something happens, you kick yourself," Gardenhire said. "He did his job. And we wanted that run." Baker seemed to understand the situation pretty well, acknowledging that he didn't expect to be left in for that type of situation just yet. "I know that I technically haven't earned the right to go back out there in that point of the game," he said. "That's OK -- it's the way it is." Redmond's clutch hit and the rest of the sixth-inning action came after the Twins' offense had found a way to get to a Mets starter early in a contest for the second straight night. Left-hander Oliver Perez lasted just 5 1/3 innings after throwing 110 pitches. He gave up four runs on five hits and issued five walks. The biggest of those five hits came in the fifth inning, when the Twins took their first lead of the game. Shea Stadium has proved to be quite a difficult park for home run hitters, and no one knew that better than center fielder Torii Hunter, who had watched plenty of hard-hit balls knocked down in the wind over the course of the three-game series. But in the fifth inning, Hunter was able to take one of Perez's inside fastballs just over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. And suddenly, the Twins had the spark of energy they needed. "Man, when I hit it, I thought it was an out," Hunter said. "I hit it pretty good, but you know, with the way the balls fly here, I wasn't sure. But I got lucky." But more important than any individual performance was the fact that the victory gave the Twins their first road series win since May 21-23, when they took two of three at Texas. And the series win was made a little sweeter considering that it came against the club for which Gardenhire spent five seasons as a player. "Sure it's nice to come out here and knock their socks off for a couple of wins," he said. "It's good to win a series, a huge series here in New York, against a good baseball team."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.