Rays
Twins
3 - 4 Final
  for this game

Morneau homers, hustles, helps Twins top Rays 4-3

Apr 29, 2009 - 7:35 AM By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS(AP) -- Justin Morneau's night started with a jog around the bases and ended with a sprint down the line.

Designated hitter duty left the Minnesota slugger with little to do between at-bats Tuesday night but ride a stationary bike behind the dugout. Well, he kept his legs loose enough for the dramatic ending.

Morneau hustled to beat out a potential double play and allow the winning run to score in the bottom of the ninth inning, after hitting a two-run homer in the first, to spark the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

"Speed kills," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire joked.

"My speed usually kills us," Morneau quipped.

After an easy force, the relay throw was a hair late as Jose Morales raced home. First base coach Jerry White jubilantly jumped in the air, and Morneau coolly tossed his helmet toward the mound as his teammates rushed him.

"I did everything I could do," said Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who fielded the sharp grounder.

Ben Zobrist, whose pinch-hit homer tied the game in the top of the ninth against Twins closer Joe Nathan (1-0), was summoned from right field to serve as a fifth infielder with one out in the bottom half after reliever J.P. Howell (0-2) gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.

Morneau was so focused on hitting a ball in the air for a sacrifice fly, he said he didn't even notice the unusual formation.

"He hit it really hard," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not an easy play for Aki by any means. It just bounced far enough away from him that permitted Morneau to beat it out."

Jose Mijares struck out the side in the eighth after a leadoff walk, but Nathan's first blown save in four attempts came quickly in the ninth. The Twins have been outscored this year 113-85, despite a 10-11 record.

Francisco Liriano lasted 6 2-3 innings, surrendering seven hits and two walks. Only the second opening day pitcher in Twins history to lose his first four decisions (Frank Viola started 0-5 in 1989), the left-hander lowered his ERA from 7.06 to 6.04.

"I know he's been feeling a little rough and worried a little bit, but he can raise his head right there," Gardenhire said. "He did a super job against a very good baseball team."

Yankees 11, Tigers 0=

At Detroit, Phil Hughes went six innings in his first start and left fielder Josh Anderson's error led to a 10-run seventh inning as the Yankees ended a four-game skid.

Hughes (1-0), who was called up from Triple-A, and Edwin Jackson dueled through six innings. Hughes, who replaced injured Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation, allowed two hits, while Jackson gave up four.

Indians 9, Red Sox 8=

At Cleveland, Mark DeRosa had four hits and scored from second base on an error with two outs in the ninth inning as the Indians snapped Boston's 11-game winning streak.

The Indians won for only the second time in their last 11 games against the Red Sox.

Kerry Wood (1-1) worked a shaky ninth to earn his first AL win.

White Sox 2, Mariners 1, Game 1=

Mariners 9, White Sox 1, Game 2=

At Chicago, Yuniesky Betancourt drove in five runs, Russell Branyan had a career-high five hits and the Mariners salvaged a doubleheader split with the White Sox.

Felix Hernandez (4-0) coasted through eight scoreless innings, striking out nine. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed four hits and one walk.

In the opener, Bartolo Colon pitched seven strong innings and Paul Konerko hit a two-run double, leading Chicago to a brisk victory. At 1 hour, 52 minutes, it was the fastest game in the majors this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Mariners starter Chris Jakubauskas (1-3) was a hard-luck loser in his first career complete game, a two-hitter.

Angels 7, Orioles 5=

At Baltimore, Joe Saunders allowed two earned runs in six innings, Howie Kendrick homered and the Angels became the last team in the majors to win two in a row this season.

Kendry Morales had two doubles and two RBIs for the Angels.

Saunders (3-1) gave up four runs and 10 hits.

Rangers 5, Athletics 4=

At Arlington, Texas, Nelson Cruz hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to make up for a costly error for the Rangers.

Hank Blalock reached on a two-base error in the eighth when his sharp grounder went under the glove of first baseman Jason Giambi into the right-field corner. Cruz followed with a single to left off Michael Wuertz (1-1).

Kevin Millwood (2-2) scattered 10 hits over eight innings, allowing four runs.

Blue Jays 8, Royals 1=

At Kansas city, Mo., Scott Richmond pitched seven sharp innings and Vernon Wells drove in three runs for the Blue Jays.

Richmond (3-0), a rookie right-hander, limited the Royals to one run and five hits over seven innings.

Royals starter Gil Meche left after 3 2-3 innings with lower back stiffness and will be evaluated Wednesday.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 9 1
    MINNESOTA 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - JAMES SHIELDS, BRIAN SHOUSE (7TH), TROY PERCIVAL (8TH), J.P.
    HOWELL (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    MIN - FRANCISCO LIRIANO, MATT GUERRIER (7TH), JOSE
    MIJARES (8TH)

    Apr 28 11:08 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED JOSE MORALES.
    FINAL SCORE: MINNESOTA 4, TAMPA BAY 3

    Rays 3, Twins 4  Bot 9, 0 OutsApr 28 11:08 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BEN ZOBRIST (4) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF JOE NATHAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3, MINNESOTA 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.179, 0-FOR-3)

    Rays 3, Twins 3  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 28 10:41 PM
  • 84
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 3, Twins 3  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 28 10:41 PM
  • 47
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 47 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 2, Twins 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsApr 28 10:03 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    BRIAN BUSCHER HIT BY JAMES SHIELDS PITCH WITH BASES LOADED
    SCORED ALEXI CASILLA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B BUSCHER ON FIRST, M CUDDYER ON SECOND, J
    KUBEL ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORALES (.368, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 2, Twins 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsApr 28 9:47 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY WILLY AYBAR SCORED EVAN LONGORIA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C PENA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G KAPLER (.226, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 2, Twins 2  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 28 9:33 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E LONGORIA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.250, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 1, Twins 2  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 28 9:28 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (5) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
    1 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF JAMES SHIELDS SCORED DENARD SPAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0, MINNESOTA 2
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.309, 4 HR, 15 RBI)

    Rays 0, Twins 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsApr 28 8:24 PM