Twins' 10-run inning rips Indians

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2012 - 2:25 PM

Justin Morneau blasted career home runs No. 199 and 200 in the rout, dealing Cleveland its 10th loss in a row.

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CLEVELAND - Life was a lot simpler for Justin Morneau when he hit his 100th career home run back in 2007.

He was hitting them in droves back then at age 26, coming off an MVP season, playing for a perennial playoff contender with no thought of the concussions that would end his 2010 and 2011 seasons.

His comeback from those and other injuries only made it sweeter Monday night, when Morneau connected for his 199th and 200th career homers in the Twins' 14-3 victory over Cleveland at Progressive Field.

"I think sometimes when you're younger, you kind of take it for granted that you're going to play until you're 40, and everything's going to go great," Morneau said. "But you go through some tough times, and everybody does, but this is something you can be proud of to be sure."

The Twins threw Morneau a little postgame party in the clubhouse, presenting him with the ball he launched into the right-field seats for No. 200.

Morneau, 31, became the seventh player to reach that mark for the Twins, joining Harmon Killebrew (475), Kent Hrbek (293), Tony Oliva (220), Bob Allison (211), Kirby Puckett (207) and Gary Gaetti (201).

The Twins celebrated that milestone after improving to 8-3 in their past 11 games and pulling within two games of the sinking Indians for third place in the AL Central.

Cleveland, which has a 10-game losing streak, actually had the Twins worried in the first inning when second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka turned a routine grounder into a circus play, helping load the bases with no outs against Scott Diamond.

But Diamond (10-5) limited the damage to one run, with help from third baseman Jamey Carroll, who started a double play and then caught a line drive to end the inning.

"The momentum switched quick," Morneau said.

The Twins responded with 10 runs in the second inning, which started with Josh Willingham and Morneau connecting for back-to-back home runs. Willingham's homer gave him 29 for the season, matching his career high set last year with Oakland.

Zach McAllister (4-4) could have escaped the inning with Cleveland trailing 2-1, but second baseman Jason Kipnis made a throwing error with two outs, and the Twins added eight runs.

It was the most runs the Twins had scored in an inning since they scored 10 runs in the seventh inning of a 23-2 rout over these same Indians on June 4, 2002.

Morneau's 200th homer was a two-run shot off Tomlin that extended the lead to 12-1 in the fourth. Coincidentally, his 100th home run also came in a multihomer game on July 6, 2007. He hit three home runs that night as the Twins pounded Gavin Floyd and the White Sox 12-0 in the second game of a doubleheader.

"I still have the ball and the bat [from No. 100]," said Morneau, who has 15 home runs this season. "I took my jersey this time and have the bat. It will be something that will sit in the closet, and maybe the kids will look forward to seeing later."

Diamond, 24, reached his own milestone, becoming the first Twins pitcher to reach 10 victories in a season since 2010. But he was happier for his fellow countryman, Morneau, the fourth Canadian-born major leaguer to reach 200 homers.

"I grew up watching him, and he's just been a hero of a lot of ours in the [Canadian] baseball community," Diamond said. "So the fact that I've gotten to know him and spend some time with him, it's almost surreal really. He's just such a great dude."

  • TWINS 14, CLEVELAND 3 Up next: 6:10 p.m. tonight vs. Cleveland • TV: FSN (1500-AM)

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