Jim Souhan: Morneau's bat gives offense some big teeth

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 7, 2007 - 9:15 AM

After going almost two weeks looking for career home run No. 100, the AL MVP hit Nos. 101 and 102 in the same game.

CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was emerging from his postgame news conference late Friday night when he spotted Justin Morneau ducking out of the Twins clubhouse.

The Twins had just outscored the Sox 32-14 in a doubleheader sweep, and Morneau had just become the first Twins player in 34 years to hit three homers in a game. Guillen paused, nodded at the muscular first baseman and, remembering the nickname he gave the team's short-and-scrappy players a year ago, amended his impression of Minnesota baseball.

"They're not piranhas no more," Guillen said. "They're a shark attack now."

Friday, Morneau was the lead land shark, and White Sox pitching was his chum. In the Twins' 12-0 victory in the nightcap, Morneau became the fourth Twin to hit three home runs in a game.

Morneau batted in the eighth inning and, in an attempt to become the first Twin ever to hit four in a game, flied out to left.

"That was fun," Morneau said, wearing his tattered Todd Bertuzzi jersey and a big grin. "I've never done that before in my life."

Never hit three in Little League? Never had a hat trick in hockey? "I gave up three goals plenty of times," he said.

Morneau clearly had homer No. 4 on his mind in the eighth. His first swing against Chicago lefthander Matt Thornton threatened to dislocate both of his shoulders.

"You could tell by my first swing I was thinking about it," Morneau said. "But then I started thinking about [Saturday], facing Mark Buehrle, I better not get out of whack. [Thornton] actually gave me a pitch to hit, and I didn't get it. It was still a good day."

One prompted by reminders of his past success. Needing one home run to reach 100 for his career, Morneau went 13 games without one until Friday.

Team video manager Sean Harlin made Morneau a recording of his extra-base hits of 2007, when he became the American League Most Valuable Player. Morneau watched it Thursday night.

"Sean told me to tell [Twins General Manager] Terry Ryan that he made that tape," Morneau said. "I told him Terry would ask why he didn't make it two months ago."

Morneau is both superstitious and aware of milestones. "I would think about it any time I got into a 2-and-0 count," he said. "It took a long time to get to 100."

Still, Morneau reached 100 homers faster than all but two other Twins -- Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison.

Morneau will compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday at the All-Star Game in San Francisco. Fellow Canadian slugger Larry Walker was unavailable to pitch to him during the contest. Perhaps Morneau should pick White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who gave up Morneau's first two homers.

After the game, Morneau met a fan who caught one of his homers and traded autographs for the baseball. Guillen walked over and jokingly asked the fan, "Why would you want anything from him?"

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire couldn't have asked for much more Friday. He won a doubleheader, saw Morneau regain his power stroke and -- perhaps more important -- saw two pivotal young players have big days.

Outfielder Jason Kubel went 4-for-7 with two sacrifice flies and two walks on the day, driving in a career-high seven runs in the first game. If he can become a productive No. 7 hitter behind Torii Hunter, the Twins will have a lineup worthy of the American League.

  • related content

  • The three crowd

    Friday July 6, 2007

    Justin Morneau's three-homer game Friday against Chicago was the fourth in Twins history and the fourth in the major leagues...

  • View from a new perspective

    Friday July 6, 2007

    CHICAGO - As big-league sports become increasingly lucrative and expensive, the sportswriter perk of a prime seat in the press...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close