Comeback erases errors, eases pain

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 9:50 AM

Justin Morneau had a doozy, dropping a foul pop, but kept his focus and came through with four hits.

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BOSTON - Twins first baseman Justin Morneau must have wished he could dig a hole for himself in Fenway Park's 100-year-old lawn Friday night.

In a moment fit for the blooper reel, he dropped a routine popup in foul territory, extending the third inning, and Carl Crawford drilled Brian Duensing's next pitch for a three-run homer.

Morneau showed little outward emotion as the catcalls rang down from Red Sox fans. He just kept playing and kept hitting, and pretty soon the Twins came back to tie the score.

Morneau matched a season high with four hits, and the Twins won 6-5 in the 10th when Jamey Carroll delivered his fourth hit, an RBI single that scored speedy Darin Mastroianni from second base.

"That's probably the most embarrassed I've ever been on a baseball field," Morneau said. "I thought I could probably fit under first base if I could crawl under there.

"Every win's big, but that might be one of the happiest wins we've had this year. That could have been a real bad night if we didn't come back to win that game."

The Twins are 6-2 in their past eight games and have outscored their opponents 51-24 in that span.

On a night when it looked like he'd be the goat, Morneau continued climbing the all-time Twins leaderboard. His two doubles gave him 253 for his career, moving him past Gary Gaetti for sixth on the all-time list, and his two RBI tied him with Gaetti for fifth on the all-time list with 758.

"I told [Morneau], 'You know what, if those things happen, as a pitcher, you've got to pick up your defense, and I made the wrong pitch [to Crawford], so we've both had a bad experience right there,'" Duensing said.

Duensing gave a gritty performance, throwing 90 pitches over six innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on 10 hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Crawford's home run had stretched Boston's lead to 5-1, but the Twins came back against lefthander Felix Doubront.

After making his error, Morneau led off the next inning, and he calmly lined an opposite-field single. He came up in a big spot in the fifth, as well, right after Josh Willingham drew a bases-loaded walk to trim Boston's lead to 5-2.

With a 2-1 count, Morneau chased a high fastball with a wild swing, but once again he composed himself, feathering the next pitch into center field for a two-run single. Danny Valencia's sacrifice fly down the right-field line made it 5-5.

"I thought it showed you how much of a professional [Morneau] is," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He drops that ball, and then he's got to go up and lead off the inning. You know he's ready to go up there and probably chew this locker room up. He regrouped, gathered himself and went up and got a hit."

Morneau also got hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, but he said he was lucky to have it on the meaty part of his right hand.

Boston threatened in the eighth, loading the bases against Alex Burnett with one out, but rookie lefthander Tyler Robertson fanned Jacoby Ellsbury, and righthander Jeff Gray got Dustin Pedroia to fly out.

"I've got to give our pitching staff credit because they gave us a chance to win that game," Morneau said. "We made some errors and gave them a lot of chances."

  • TWINS 6, BOSTON 5 (10 INNINGS) • Up next: 6:10 p.m. today at Boston • TV: FSN (1500-AM)

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