Tapping new power outlet helps salvage the weekend

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2007 - 1:16 AM

Two big bops from Joe Mauer, with an assist from Johan Santana, left the Twins not lacking clout in Florida.

MIAMI - The Twins wondered how they would survive the weekend without Justin Morneau. Then, they lost Michael Cuddyer on Sunday, when he received his first career ejection.

But hey, no worries.

They still had their two big lefthanded sticks: Joe Mauer and ... Johan Santana?

Mauer hit two home runs in a game for the first time in nearly three years, and Santana added a run-scoring triple as the Twins defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 at Dolphin Stadium.

After a 4-2 road trip against the Mets and Marlins, the Twins returned to Minnesota without Morneau, who remained in the hospital for more tests on his bruised right lung.

Still, the team's spirits were high.

Gardenhire laughed at himself for instinctively throwing his cap at home plate umpire Larry Young following Cuddyer's ejection for arguing a called third strike to end the fourth inning.

"That's not the way to go out and argue if you plan to stay in the game," Gardenhire said.

The Twins would miss Cuddyer, but they already had a 5-2 lead against Marlins starter Byung-Hyun Kim (3-4).

Mauer started the scoring with a two-out homer to right field in the first inning. He added another two-out homer off Kim in the sixth -- a two-run shot to right -- that stretched the lead to 7-2.

Mauer entered the game with one home run and left with three. His only other career multi-homer game came June 30, 2004, against the Chicago White Sox.

This time, he convinced Gardenhire to let him catch even though it was an afternoon game -- with 89-degree heat and 59 percent humidity -- and he had caught seven innings one night earlier.

"I told [Mike Redmond] after that second one that I might have to play more day games," Mauer said. "It was good to get out there. My legs feel good."

Santana's legs were a little wobbly after spending so much time on the bases.

His first at-bat came in the second inning, with one out and Nick Punto on first.

When Punto attempted to steal second, Santana showed bunt but quickly pulled the bat back and smashed a pitch to the right-field warning track.

It was his first career triple, and this came one start after he delivered his first career double -- and fifth career shutout -- against the Mets.

Santana is now a .258 career hitter (8-for-31). Gardenhire even let him swing away, instead of bunt, when he came up with two aboard in the fourth.


    Up next: 7:10 p.m. today vs. Toronto

    Metrodome • FSN, 1500-AM

    Series preview: Frank Thomas could hit homer No. 500 at the Dome. C8

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