CLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Morneau made an instant impact in his return to the Minnesota Twins' lineup, launching a two-run homer in a 9-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Morneau had missed two games with a stiff back. The Twins said it was unrelated to the stress fracture that kept him out of the final 20 games last season and the playoffs.
After Joe Mauer singled with two outs in the first, Morneau hit a 444-foot homer over the center-field wall against Fausto Carmona (3-1).
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 to deal with a personal matter.
Slowey improved to 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.
Hudson singled to open the fifth, stole second, and scored on Michael Cuddyer's two-out broken-bat single to make it 6-0.
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.
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.
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: Manager Ron 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. ... The Twins are expected to activate INF Nick Punto (hip) on Saturday. ... 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.