Morneau homers twice in support of Santana as Twins rollMay 23, 2007 - 6:26 AM ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- Three home runs plus a strong outing from Johan Santana added up to a victory for the Minnesota Twins.
Justin Morneau hit two homers and Torii Hunter added a blast of his own and that was more than enough offense for Santana as the Twins posted a 7-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
Texas had scored 14 runs in each of its last two games but only was able to scratch out one run against the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner in seven innings.
Looking to avoid losing his third straight game for the first time in almost three years, Santana (5-4) was at the top of his game. He struck out a season-high 13 while allowing a run and four hits.
"Every single game is a challenge and when you lose a game, it's how you learn and how you take it the next time you go out there," Santana said. "For me, it was more showing these guys I can do this every single time that I'm out there and I was going to show that if I threw my best and do whatever it takes to help my team, I can help them out."
"Santana was really, really good tonight - had all of his pitches working, great changeup tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When he's got all of his pitches working, it makes it really tough on just about anybody."
Last year's AL MVP, Morneau hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Twins a 2-1 lead. He added a three-run shot in the fifth, his 13th of the season, to extend the lead to 5-1.
It was Morneau's seventh career two-homer game and his third this season. The home runs were the first this season by a Twins' designated hitter.
"I don't like to DH, but after I got my first at-bat, I was able to relax," said Morneau, usually Minnesota's first baseman. "It was a pretty fun day. We were able to combine a bunch of good things. Johan threw well and we got two-out hits to get the lead."
"I think when you give Johan a little support, and a little bit of a lead, he knows what to do probably as good as any guy in the game," Gardenhire said. "That's a good formula. when you can get Johan to go a little bit deeper into the game, get a couple of home runs from Morneau - right now when we haven't been scoring that many. It was a good offensive night for our ballclub and a good comeback after what happened last night's loss."
Hunter capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the eighth. "I've been feeling good since August of last year," Hunter said. "That's experience. You're getting older, you figure out ways to have good at-bats, put good swings on the ball and wait for your pitch. I think I'm getting better as I'm getting older."
"Torii, he's been probably the most consistent this year of all of our players, getting after it every game," Gardenhire added. "He's our leader on this ballclub, putting a big one in the seats. He can hit them as far as anybody, but that's just what we've been getting from him."
Kameron Loe (1-4) yielded five runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two and has now allowed five or more runs in five of his last six starts.
"I got beat on two pitches," Loe said. "Other than that, I pitched a fairly good game. But when I give up five runs early, I have nobody to blame but myself. I feel like I'm real close to where being exactly where I want to be. I'm so close. There were a few pitches tonight that I would like to have back."
"Kam made a couple of mistakes to the same guy, a guy that you don't want to make a mistake to," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "With hitters like that, you make a mistake, they make you pay."
Sammy Sosa provided Texas' lone run by belting his 598th career homer to lead off the second inning for a 1-0 lead. Sosa has 10 homers this season and is now two shy of becoming the fifth player in major league history to reach 600.
"I'm not thinking about that," Sosa said of the looming milestone. "I come here to do my job every day. Santana's one of the greatest pitchers in the league. When you face a guy like that, one run isn't enough. Everything was working for him. He was incredible."
"Santana had his strikeout stuff tonight," Washington said. "His changeup is great. His arm action is so good on the changeup that you think you're swinging at a fastball. You tell yourself not to swing at the changeup and he pops that fastball. There isn't much you can do when you face a guy like that. At some point you've got to tip your cap."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
MINNESOTA 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 2 0 7 9 0
TEXAS 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: MIN - JOHAN SANTANA, PAT NESHEK (8TH), JOE NATHAN (9TH) AND MIKE
TEX - KAMERON LOE, SCOTT FELDMAN (7TH), C.J. WILSON
(8TH), ERIC GAGNE (9TH) AND GERALD LAI
May 22 10:41 PM
AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY TORII HUNTER (11) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
THE 8TH OFF C.J. WILSON SCORED MICHAEL CUDDYER.
CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 7, TEXAS 1
DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.308, 1-FOR-3)
Twins vs. RangersMay 22 10:13 PM
AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (13) TO CENTER WITH 2
OUT IN THE 5TH OFF KAMERON LOE SCORED LUIS CASTILLO AND MICHAEL
CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 5, TEXAS 1
DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.315, 0-FOR-2)
Twins vs. RangersMay 22 9:25 PM
AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (12) TO CENTER WITH 0
OUT IN THE 4TH OFF KAMERON LOE SCORED MICHAEL CUDDYER.
CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2, TEXAS 1
DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.317, 0-FOR-1)
Twins vs. RangersMay 22 9:07 PM
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