Published November 20, 2014
Justin Morneau got one more chance and took full advantage.
Morneau, after leaving the bases loaded in the third and sixth innings, followed a Joe Mauer single with his first home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth to give Minnesota the lead and the Twins went on to a 10-9 victory over the LA Angels of Anaheim in the finale of a three-game set at Target Field.
Mauer also connected for his first homer, a three-run shot in fifth, and finished 3-for-5 to highlight the Twins' 20-hit attack. Josh Willingham added three hits with a solo homer and Denard Span went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Minnesota, which rallied for a 6-5 triumph on Wednesday for its first win of the young campaign, came back from deficits of 6-0 and 7-6 on Thursday. The Twins then had to hold on after taking a 10-7 lead to the ninth.
The Angels watched their six-run lead disappear, then went back in front with a run in the eighth. Vernon Wells led off with a single against Jared Burton and took second on a two-out wild pitch by Brian Duensing before scoring on a single into left field by Peter Bourjos.
Mauer then led off the bottom of the inning with a single into right field off Rich Thompson (0-1) and Morneau drilled a 2-1 pitch deep into the right field seats to put the Twins ahead.
Minnesota was not yet done, however, as Willingham singled off the glove of third baseman Alberto Callaspo and scored on a double by Danny Valencia. Luke Hughes stroked a two-out base hit to chase home a big insurance run.
Matt Capps surrendered singles to Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter to start the ninth and Mark Trumbo followed with an RBI base hit. After the Twins failed to turn a double play cleanly, leaving runners on the corners, Callaspo knocked in a run with a grounder to first and Chris Iannetta bounced to third for the final out.
Capps notched his second save in as many games and Jeff Gray (2-0) picked up the win by retiring the only batter he faced. Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano was roughed up for six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits in five innings.
Dan Haren went the first five innings for the Angels and was tagged for three runs on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Trumbo started a five-run second inning for the Angels with a leadoff homer. Callaspo singled with one out, took second on a base hit by Bobby Wilson and scored the second run on a double by Bourjos. Maicer Izturis chased home both runners with a base hit and stole second before a walk to Howie Kendrick. The two then pulled off a double steal and Izturis scored on Mauer's throwing error.
Minnesota threatened in the third after Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla started the inning with singles. Jamey Carroll then drew a walk to load the bases, but Mauer popped up and Morneau flied to right to strand all three.
The Angels tacked on a run in the fifth with a two-out rally. Trumbo walked after the first two batters were retired and stole second before scoring on Wells' ground-rule double.
Minnesota finally answered in the bottom of the inning. Span and Carroll each singled with one out before Mauer came through with a blast into the right field seats to make it 6-3.
The Twins loaded the bases in the sixth against Hisanori Takahashi with a pair of two-out singles sandwiched around a walk, but Kevin Jepsen came on and retired Morneau on a fly ball to left.
Willingham connected for his fourth homer of the season to start the seventh, pulling the Twins within two. Chris Parmelee followed with a double, advanced to third on a base hit by Valencia and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Hughes. Valencia scored the tying run an infield single by Span, who arrived at first the same time Scott Downs did and inadvertently spiked the pitcher in the process.
Mauer and Morneau homered in the same game at Target Field for the first time...Willingham has hit safely in all six games this season...Morneau has 552 career runs scored and surpassed Roy Smalley for 13th on Twins' all-time list...Valencia had three hits for Minnesota and every Twins starter had at least one hit...Hunter now has a 10-game hitting streak against his former team...Downs exited the contest under his own power after Span stepped on his left ankle...The Angels head to New York for a three-game weekend series with the Yankees...The Twins will remain home this weekend for a three-game set against Texas.