Justin Morneau’s recent outdoor work paid off Sunday when he launched a two-run homer in the sixth inning against Texas, nearly clearing the section behind the overhang in right field.
It was only Morneau’s second homer of the season, which might have been part of the reason he hit the field for early work as soon as weather permitted.
“It’s been nice to be able to get outside side and just do some extra stuff,” he said. “For me to find my swing is … to swing.”
Texas’ Alexi Ogando had held the Twins to one run when Josh Willingham drew a two-out walk before Morneau jumped on a first-pitch breaking ball.
“It was good to see him put a ball in the seats,” catcher Joe Mauer said after the 5-0 victory.
Morneau’s only other home run came April 13, a solo shot that broke up Mets righthander Matt Harvey’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning. The one he hit Sunday was the 206th of his career, one behind Kirby Puckett for fifth on the Twins’ all-time list.
Ejection No. 63
Ron Gardenhire was ejected for arguing in the seventh inning. And he had to work for it.
Eduardo Escobar attempted to bunt Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks over. His bunt was fielded by Rangers pitcher Joe Ortiz, who threw to third to force Arcia on a close play. Both Arcia and third base coach Joe Vavra objected to umpire Alfonso Marquez until Gardenhire ran out to join the discussion.
The Twins manager had a heated exchange with Marquez before turning to the dugout. Marquez said something as Gardenhire walked away, which was enough for him to turn back, make a brief comment and get thrown out.
“I was leaving the field and he turned and said something else to me,” Gardenhire said, “and I turned back, which was not a good idea.”
It was his first ejection of the season and the 63rd of his career. It’s the second time he has been tossed by Marquez, whose call, on replay, appeared to be correct.
Harden backs off
Righthander Rich Harden, on a long comeback trail following shoulder surgery last year, had to be shut down last week after experiencing soreness. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Harden is better and is expected to return to mound this week.
Harden, signed to a minor league free-agent contract over the offseason, had been throwing live batting practice.
“That’s not unexpected, but we were doing well there for a while and he never had any setbacks and now he came up a little sore in his shoulder,” Ryan said. “So we backed down.
“It’s not unusual for a guy who is coming off of what he’s coming off of to feel a little sore. We aren’t going to push him.”
Both the Twins and Harden understood that his recovery was going to be a long process.
• Brian Dozier was 2-for-4 Sunday and is batting .364 in eight games as the leadoff hitter.
• Righthanders Cole De Vries (forearm) and Samuel Deduno (groin muscle) both will pitch in extended spring training games Tuesday. De Vries will throw around 45 pitches, Deduno 25.
• Lefthander Rafael Perez (shoulder surgery) has been throwing in extended games as well, but his velocity is topping out at 84 miles per hour. The Twins won’t assign him to a minor league club until he gains more strength.
• Class A Cedar Rapids outfielder Adam Brett Walker, a third-round pick last year, was named Twins minor league player of the week. He batted .455 over five games with four home runs and 13 RBI, including a grand slam Friday.
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison||2|
|Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||6|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront||5||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson||1|
|Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley||3|
|Minnesota - LP: J. Burton||2||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: A. Miller||3|
|Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams||7||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Colon||2|
|Miami - WP: J. Cosart||4||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: A. Harang||0|
|Boston - LP: A. Webster||0||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi||7|
|Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin||3||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: S. Downs||2|
|Detroit - WP: K. Ryan||8||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt||4|
|Texas - LP: P. Klein||0||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: S. Feldman||2|
|Colorado - WP: T. Matzek||2||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: V. Nuno||0|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada||2||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales||13|
|Los Angeles||1||Bottom 10th Inning|
|Milwaukee||1||Top 9th Inning|
|Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija||0||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera||2|
|Washington||3||Bottom 9th Inning|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||7||FINAL|
|(8) Michigan State||45|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|(17) Notre Dame||48|
|(10) South Dakota St||18||FINAL|
|(23) North Carolina||56|
|Stephen F Austin||16||FINAL|
|(20) Kansas State||55|
|(1) Florida State||37||FINAL|
|(14) Wisconsin||24||4th Qtr 12:08|
|(25) Washington||17||3rd Qtr|
|South Dakota||6||2nd Qtr 3:57|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||1||2nd Half 25:00|
|Portland||1||2nd Half 25:00|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?