Twins lose but Morneau finds power

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 31, 2011 - 11:51 PM

Despite a pinched nerve in his neck, he had his first multi-homer game of the year.

view larger photos

  

DETROIT - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire pulled Justin Morneau into his office last week and asked about putting the first baseman on the disabled list.

This had nothing to do with last year's concussion. Morneau had two recent cortisone shots, treating a pinched nerve in his neck that causes weakness in his left shoulder, an injury that won't subside as long he keeps playing.

After checking with doctors, Morneau decided to keep playing anyway.

He knows his performance is suffering, but it was hard to tell Tuesday night, when Morneau hit two home runs, giving the Twins another lead for their late-inning relief corps to fritter away in a 8-7 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Trailing 7-6 in the seventh, Detroit tied it with a run against Jose Mijares. The Tigers added another run in the eighth off Phil Dumatrait and held on for their eighth consecutive victory over the Twins, dating to last year.

"We need [Morneau] desperately with [Jason] Kubel out, and he did it for us tonight," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We scored enough runs to win. Defense and pitching have gotta hold them down."

It marked the 10th time since May 11 the Twins have lost when tied or leading during the seventh inning and dropped their major league-worst record to 17-36.

This team is going nowhere fast, but after seeing 11 of his teammates go on the DL this year, Morneau is determined not to become the 12th.

"We got it checked it out [with doctors], and there's not really a whole lot that can be done," said Morneau, who turned 30 on May 15. "We shot it twice [with cortisone], and it feels better than it did a while ago. So the hope is that it'll continue to get better."

The injury has slowed Morneau's reaction time on defense and affected his swing. When he was sidelined because of his concussion last July, he was batting .345 with an American League-best .437 on-base percentage and a .618 slugging percentage.

Entering Tuesday, Morneau was batting .242 with a .291 OBP and .335 SLG.

"Obviously, I'm not playing as well as I'd like, but whether it's because of this [pinched nerve] or not, who knows?" Morneau said. "I can play with it, so I'll just keep going."

Morneau's third-inning homer off Tigers starter Max Scherzer stretched the Twins lead to 3-0. It was his first homer since May 19, and the Twins' first in eight days.

Detroit stormed back with six runs off Brian Duensing in the fifth, but Morneau started the Twins comeback in the sixth. After drawing a leadoff walk, he scored on Jim Thome's sacrifice fly.

Then, with two outs in the seventh, Morneau connected again off Scherzer, hitting a two-run homer into the right-field seats. It was Morneau's first multi-homer game of the season and the 14th of his career.

The pinched nerve has made it tough for him to lift weights, so his strength isn't all back, but at least he's keeping himself on the field. He has started 47 of 53 games this year, including seven at DH.

Eventually, Morneau might need surgery to fix the pinched nerve.

"If it's still where it's at now [this offseason], we might have to explore some other options," he said.

That can all wait. Morneau got tired of sitting out last year, and he has no intention of bailing on these Twins now.

  • related content

  • Gardenhire: Mauer's a catcher until he's not

    Wednesday June 1, 2011

    Joe Mauer wants to keep catching for the Twins, and the team has every intention of keeping him there. Unless ...

  • Twins-Detroit game recap

    Tuesday May 31, 2011

    He scored twice and hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

  • Justin Morneau (center)

  • DETROIT 8, TWINS 7 Up next: 6:05 p.m. today at Detroit • TV: FSN

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ClevelandT. Bauer (5-8)000
MinnesotaP. Hughes (15-10)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 14 Top 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Boston - A. Webster 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Washington - D. Fister 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Cleveland - T. Bauer 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Seattle - T. Walker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Arizona - C. Anderson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg 7:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Lackey
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close