Morneau’s homer helps Twins top IndiansCLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Morneau wanted to make sure Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona didn’t get into a groove. Morneau hit a 444-foot, two-run homer on his first swing after missing two games with a sore back, launching the Minnesota Twins to a 9-3 win over the Indians on Friday night.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Morneau wanted to make sure Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona didn’t get into a groove.
Morneau hit a 444-foot, two-run homer on his first swing after missing two games with a sore back, launching the Minnesota Twins to a 9-3 win over the Indians on Friday night.
“I felt good in batting practice, but then to come back against a guy like him is something different,” Morneau said. “His sinker is not an easy pitch to hit. You hope he leaves one over the plate and can take advantage of it.
“You have to get the good pitchers early before they settle in.”
After Joe Mauer singled with two outs in the first, Morneau connected against Carmona (3-1).
“Mauer and Morny — what else is new?” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Minnesota’s two AL MVP winners.
Morneau said his soreness was unrelated to the stress fracture that kept him out of the final 20 games last season and the playoffs.
“It feels good now,” he said. “Let’s see how it is when I wake up tomorrow.”
Kevin Slowey (3-2), moved up in Minnesota’s rotation, pitched five innings for the win. He filled in for Nick Blackburn, who was placed on the family medical emergency list.
Slowey is 4-0 in his last four starts against Cleveland. The right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits, striking out six without issuing a walk
Orlando Hudson’s two-out, two-run single capped a three-run second for a 5-0 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Carmona got Denard Span to hit a potential double-play grounder, but first baseman Matt LaPorta could not scoop the low throw from second baseman Luis Valbuena to turn two.
“I can’t control that,” Carmona said. “I wanted the double play.”
Hudson singled to open the fifth, stole second, and scored on Michael Cuddyer’s two-out, broken-bat single to make it 6-0.
“Morneau set the pace and I got a couple hits, but I didn’t like facing Carmona,” Hudson said. “It was not fun. He throws 95 with that nasty sinker. We pretty much went up and prayed. We capitalized on a few pitches he left up. Good teams do that.”
Jhonny Peralta had three hits for Cleveland, which opened a nine-game homestand after going 3-6 on a nine-game trip that started with two losses in three games at Minnesota.
Grady Sizemore and Austin Kearns had RBI singles in the fifth and Travis Hafner a run-scoring double to get Cleveland within 6-3. Slowey got Peralta on a flyout with runners on second and third to end the rally on his 38th pitch of the inning.
“That was big right there,” Gardenhire said. “Slowey had threw a lot of pitches in the inning, but got the big out.”
Mauer doubled home run in the seventh and another run scored on the play when Kearns bobbled the ball in left field, putting the Twins ahead 8-3.
“We didn’t play clean baseball the whole night,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “When you’re swinging the bat the way we’re swinging it right now, you have to play perfect baseball and we didn’t.”
Carmona gave up six runs and eight hits over six innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked two, dropping to 0-5 in his last six starts against Minnesota.
NOTES: After the game, Twins INF Luke Hughes was sent to Triple-A Rochester to make room for INF Nick Punto (hip injury), who is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. Hughes homered in his first career at-bat Thursday. ... Gardenhire said Blackburn could return when the Twins open a homestand Monday and that RHP Jeff Manship will be called up from Triple-A Rochester to start Saturday. ... Twins OF Denard Span was fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for throwing his bat after being ejected by plate umpire Paul Emmel on Tuesday. ... Cleveland activated RHP Hector Ambriz and sent RHP Joe Smith to Triple-A Columbus. Ambriz, selected in the rule 5 draft from Arizona, opened the season on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis. He made his MLB debut in the eighth and the first batter he faced, Delmon Young, hit a drive to center that Sizemore caught with a leap against the wall. ... SS J.J. Hardy returned to the Twins lineup after missing one game with a toe injury. ... Indians RHP Anthony Reyes, began throwing from a mound at the team’s training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Reyes had Tommy John surgery last June. ... Cleveland went 9-13 for its third consecutive losing April.