Minnesota at San Diego

Scoreboard
Minnesota (43-36) «0002110004111
San Diego (32-48)012000000370

Feasting on NL, Twins nip Padres for ninth straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

SAN DIEGO -- Minnesota was down 3-0 against the lowly San Diego Padres for the second time in less than 24 hours when Justin Morneau hit an impressive two-run homer.

An inning later, the game was tied. One more and the Twins had gone ahead.

That's how it's been going for the streaking Twins, who beat the Padres 4-3 on Thursday for their ninth consecutive victory, all against NL teams.

The Twins will probably be sad to see interleague play end.

"It seems like it's somebody different every game coming up with that big hit," Morneau said. "We don't usually do it too flashy but it seems like we find a way to get it done. It's fun to watch."

Morneau went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI. Twins starter Scott Baker also had a big day. Baker (4-2) got his first big league hit and scored his first run while holding the Padres to three runs and six hits in six innings. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances.

The Twins swept the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and now the Padres. Before that, they won two of three against Milwaukee. Minnesota is 12-3 overall against the NL this season going into their final interleague series at home this weekend against the Brewers.

The Twins have gained six games on the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox during this round of interleague play. The Twins have outscored their opponents 56-19 during the nine-game winning streak, and their starters are 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA. It's their longest winning streak since taking 11 straight from June 22-July 3, 2006.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins got rolling by winning the first two of three at Milwaukee.

"We've played really good baseball since then," he said.

On this quick trip to San Diego, "A lot of things happened for us," Gardenhire said. "Every mistake they made we capitalized on it. It's just how the ball bounces. It's one of those streaks where things are going right for you. You're getting some breaks and you're taking advantage of them."

The Padres lost their fifth straight game and for the 10th time in 12 games. Greg Maddux couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in a 9-3 loss on Wednesday night and rookie Josh Banks (2-2) did the same on Thursday.

Morneau brought the Twins back with two swings. He homered to straightaway center field in the fifth inning and hit an RBI single in the fifth. His homer, estimated at 419 feet, was his 12th, and came with Mike Redmond aboard on a leadoff single.

"That gets everybody fired up and right back in the game and we just kind of grind it out after that," Gardenhire said.

"I got a fastball up and he does what he does," Banks said.

On Morneau's RBI single, "I threw a pretty good split but he got a good piece of it," Banks said. "There is nothing you can do. He's a good hitter."

It was the fifth homer during the series at spacious Petco Park for the Twins, who came into the day with just 51, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the fewest in the majors.

Baker singled to right leading off the fifth, advanced on Redmond's single and scored when Morneau singled to right.

Banks allowed Jason Kubel's leadoff double in the sixth, then left after retiring Brendan Harris. Brian Corey came on and promptly gave up a broken-bat RBI single by Brian Buscher against a drawn-in infield that put the Twins ahead 4-3.

The Padres can't afford to blow any leads, especially early ones.

"It's great to get ahead early," manager Bud Black said. "We need to tack on and we haven't been able to."

Banks allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

San Diego had runners on second and third and one out but failed to score. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a one-out single and took third on rookie Chase Headley's double to right. Fans booed when third base coach Glenn Hoffman held up Kouzmanoff. Buscher, the third baseman, fielded Khalil Greene's grounder and threw out Kouzmanoff at home, and Luke Carlin struck out for the third out.

"We are not playing well over the last couple of weeks," Black said. "We have to right the ship."

Greene hit a two-out homer in the second, his eighth. Brian Giles hit a sacrifice fly in the third and another run scored that inning on a throwing error by Harris, the shortstop.

Notes

  • With the NBA Draft on Thursday night, the Padres turned to forward Jared Dudley of the Charlotte Bobcats to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Dudley played at San Diego's Horizon High and was Charlotte's first-round pick last year out of Boston College.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Justin Morneau goes 3-for-4 with three RBI to help Minnesota improve to 12-3 vs. the NL this year.  (AP)
Justin Morneau goes 3-for-4 with three RBI to help Minnesota improve to 12-3 vs. the NL this year. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Minnesota

S. Baker
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 2
K 3
 

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Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF5000013 .268
Alexi Casilla, 2B5010002 .298
Mike Redmond, C5120001 .286
Justin Morneau, 1B4133111 .310
Michael Cuddyer, RF4000004 .250
Jason Kubel, LF4110001 .260
Brendan Harris, SS3010112 .251
Brian Buscher, 3B4021002 .386
Scott Baker, P1110000 .500
    Jesse Crain, P0000000 .000
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
   a- Craig Monroe, PH1000001 .214
    Craig Breslow, P0000000 .000
    Matt Guerrier, P0000000 .000
    Joe Nathan, P0000000 .000
Totals36411423  
a-grounded out for Reyes in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jason Kubel (8, Banks)
HR - Justin Morneau (12, Banks)
SH - Scott Baker 2 (3)
RBI - Justin Morneau 3 (62), Brian Buscher (14)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (22)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Brendan Harris (8, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (W,4-2) 6633231 3.57
Jesse Crain (H,9) 0.2100020 2.70
Dennys Reyes (H,7) 0.1000000 2.31
Craig Breslow (H,1) 0.1000000 1.47
Matt Guerrier (H,9) 0.2000000 3.02
Joe Nathan (S,21) 1000020 1.38
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 101-68, Jesse Crain 14-9, Dennys Reyes 2-2, Craig Breslow 5-2, Matt Guerrier 8-4, Joe Nathan 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 5-10, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Matt Guerrier 1-1, Joe Nathan 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 26, Jesse Crain 3, Dennys Reyes 1, Craig Breslow 1, Matt Guerrier 2, Joe Nathan 3
San Diego Padres
Jody Gerut, CF4110010 .289
Craig Stansberry, 2B3010110 .357
    Justin Hampson, P0000000 .000
    Cla Meredith, P0000000 .000
Brian Giles, RF3011001 .297
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4000001 .290
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B4020000 .266
Chase Headley, LF4010012 .250
Khalil Greene, SS4111000 .229
Luke Carlin, C3000012 .164
   a- Tony Clark, PH1000010 .231
Josh Banks, P1100100 .111
    Bryan Corey, P0000000 .000
   b- Edgar Gonzalez, PH-2B2000020 .299
Totals3337227  
a-struck out for Carlin in the 9th
b-struck out for Corey in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jody Gerut (8, Baker), Chase Headley (2, Baker)
HR - Khalil Greene (8, Baker)
SF - Brian Giles (3)
RBI - Brian Giles (28), Khalil Greene (31)
2-OUT RBI - Khalil Greene (8)
Team LOB - 6
San Diego Padres
Josh Banks (L,2-2) 5.1744211 2.33
Bryan Corey 1.2200000 4.45
Justin Hampson 1100000 7.27
Cla Meredith 1100020 4.38
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Banks 81-48, Bryan Corey 29-21, Justin Hampson 22-13, Cla Meredith 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Banks 4-11, Bryan Corey 3-2, Justin Hampson 1-2
Batters Faced - Josh Banks 25, Bryan Corey 7, Justin Hampson 4, Cla Meredith 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28789
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Ed Montague, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Jerry Layne