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Updated: September 3rd, 2010 10:44pm
Matt Fox on Twins' 4-3 win over Texas: 'That was the most fun I've had'

Matt Fox on Twins' 4-3 win over Texas: 'That was the most fun I've had'

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Back-to-back RBI singles by J.J. Hardy and Denard Span in the seventh inning lifted the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers Friday on a night where 27-year-old Matt Fox made his impromptu major league debut.

No, Fox didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. But he did give the Minnesota Twins a huge boost.

Fox, who was called up from Class-AAA Rochester earlier in the day, allowed two earned runs on four hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings, throwing 90 pitches on just three days rest.

Fox's last pitch -- a two-out, full-count, 90-mph cutter -- was lined into left field by David Murphy for an RBI single, putting the Rangers ahead 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning.

He left the game trailing, but Fox carried his weight and kept the Twins in the ballgame on a night where 34 of the team's 50 greatest players looked on.

"I told countless people that was the most fun I've had, that I've ever had on the mound," Fox said. "Just to be able to help the team out and give them a chance to win, that was my goal coming in. I was able to do that, so it's a lot of fun."

When manager Ron Gardenhire came to the mound to take Fox out of the game, he shared some words of appreciation.

"I just told him, 'I hope you took it all in,'" Gardenhire said. "I said, 'You know, major league start, you're out here, you pitched your tail off, and I just hope you took it all in.' That was a big-league performance, and I just wanted him to know that, that I hope he took it all in. Because that was pretty good."

The Rochester Red Wings played in Syracuse on Thursday night, and they returned home at roughly 1:00 a.m. Fox got the call at 2:30 a.m. telling him he was being called up, so he went to the field and packed up his stuff.

"By the time I was packed up and everything, it was about 5:00, and I got about 45 minutes of sleep," Fox said. "And that was it. I can't sleep on the plane, and I don't really like flying on the plane, but I can't say how excited I was."

The Twins answered Murphy's single in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI groundout by Michael Cuddyer that scored Orlando Hudson from third base, tying the game, 2-2.

Texas temporarily regained the lead, 3-2 in the top of the seventh on a successful suicide squeeze bunt by Julio Borbon that scored Ian Kinsler.

Closer Matt Capps came on with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth inning to complete a five-out save. To end the eighth, Capps struck out Nelson Cruz, then induced a weak groundball from Kinsler.

Capps ran into some trouble in the ninth, but he was aided when right fielder Jason Repko gunned down Alex Cora, who unsuccessfully tried moving from first to third on a base hit by Borbon.

Alex Burnett, also recalled from Class-AAA before Friday's game, allowed one earned run on one hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.

Danny Valencia, who went 2-for-3 with two singles, left the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a pulled hamstring. He's considered day-to-day.

Josh Hamilton left the game in the eighth inning with lower back stiffness.

As for Fox's immediate future, when asked about the possibility of him pitching out of the bullpen, Gardenhire said, "Absolutely. With the way he threw tonight, absolutely. He did a heck of a job."

The manager also added, "I think he should just be able to sit down (Saturday) and enjoy a Major League Baseball game, and try to take it all in a little more. We'll see where we're at from there."

RHP Carl Pavano (15-10, 3.52) is scheduled to face RHP Colby Lewis (9-11, 3.61) on Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd