CHICAGO – Justin Morneau homered three times in the second game of a doubleheader and the Minnesota Twins capped a huge day on offense by routing the Chicago White Sox 12-0 on Friday night.
Morneau became the fourth Twins player to hit three home runs in a game, and Minnesota hit six in all in the nightcap to complete the sweep. The Twins won 20-14 in the opener of the day-night doubleheader.
Morneau hit a three-run drive in the first, a solo shot in the third and a two-run homer in the seventh, giving him 23 on the year. That put him alongside Bob Allison, Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva as the only Twins to hit three in a game. Morneau flied to left in the eighth, falling one shy of the major-league record.
Torii Hunter added a solo shot in the third after going deep in the early game, Michael Cuddyer hit a solo homer in the fifth and Jeff Cirillo pinch hit a three-run homer in the seventh.
This came after a day game that featured more runs than any contest in more than eight years.
The 34 runs were the most since May 19, 1999, when Cincinnati beat Colorado 24-12, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Catcher Mike Redmond suffered a bloody gash on his head after Chicago’s Jim Thome accidentally hit him in the head with his bat in the first inning of the second game.
Thome fouled off a pitch and lost control of the bat on the backswing, sending it flying into the right side of Redmond’s head. The catcher immediately went down and stayed there for several minutes as blood poured out, before walking off the field. He received stitches at the ballpark.
Designated hitter Joe Mauer went in to catch for the Twins, meaning starting pitcher Matt Garza became the first pitcher to hit in an American League game since Boston’s Hipolito Pichardo at Seattle on July 31, 2000.
In the first game, Hunter homered, Jason Kubel hit a grand slam, and the Twins handed Chicago’s Jon Garland one of the worst beatings of his career in the opener.
It was the most runs for the Twins since they scored 23 against Cleveland on June 4, 2002. The White Sox had not surrendered 20 since April 2, 1998, against Texas.
Garland (6-6) tied a career-high by allowing 12 runs, 11 of them earned. He gave up 11 hits, tying a season-high, walked three and did not strike out a batter.
He did all that in just 3 1-3 innings, his earliest exit since lasting 2 2-3 innings against Detroit on Aug. 19, 2004. But that was enough time for his ERA to leap from 3.15 to 3.92.
Yankees 14, Angels 9
NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez rejoined the Yankees’ lineup and showed off All-Star form, hitting a home run that tied him with Lou Gehrig on the career list and leading New York to a wild 14-9 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Yankees overcame a bizarre play on the bases and a blown five-run lead to beat the only AL team to hold an edge over them since Joe Torre became their manager in 1996.
A day after a strained left hamstring forced him to miss his only game this year, Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the sixth for a 12-9 lead. His 493rd homer matched Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 22nd place.
Blue Jays 8, Indians 6
TORONTO – Vernon Wells homered and drove in three runs, Roy Halladay remained unbeaten against Cleveland, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Indians 8-6.
Wells went 2-for-4 and was intentionally walked in the fifth. He’s batting .354 (17-for-48) with seven homers and 15 RBIs in 11 games as Toronto’s leadoff batter.
Halladay (10-3) allowed five runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out three. He is 5-0 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Indians, including nine starts.
Devil Rays 6, Royals 5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brendan Harris and Delmon Young drove in two runs apiece and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Winless since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 24, the Devil Rays shed the longest losing streak in the majors this year by beating the team they’ve had the most success against in their 10-year history. It was their longest losing streak since a 12-game skid in 2004 that also ended in Kansas City. It was also Tampa Bay’s second victory in its last 23 July road games dating to July 29, 2005.
Reds 8, Diamondbacks 1
CINCINNATI – Ken Griffey Jr. tied Frank Robinson for sixth place on the home run list and Kyle Lohse pitched a four-hitter as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1.
Griffey capped Cincinnati’s three-run fifth inning with his 586th homer – 23rd of the season – a two-run shot off of right-hander Micah Owings that traveled 419 feet into the right-center field seats.
Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips also homered as the Reds won back-to-back games for the first time since wins over the Cleveland Indians on June 10 and the Los Angeles Angels on June 12.
Brewers 6, Nationals 2
WASHINGTON – Ryan Braun homered twice, Dave Bush took a shutout into the seventh inning and the Milwaukee Brewers snapped a three-game skid with a 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Braun hit a solo shot and Kevin Mench a three-run drive in a four-run first inning against Mike Bacsik (2-6). Milwaukee has homered in 15 consecutive games, its longest streak since a 19-game run in 1996.
Bush (7-7) improved to 4-1 in his last five starts. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing one run and seven hits. He walked two and matched a season high with seven strikeouts.
Pirates 8, Cubs 4
PITTSBURGH – Xavier Nady homered and drove in three runs to support Paul Maholm’s pitching and hitting, and the Pittsburgh Pirates cooled off the Chicago Cubs, winning 8-4 for their fourth consecutive victory.
The Cubs had won 11 of 13 and were 21-10 since June 3, the best record in the majors over that span, until being limited to five hits over seven-plus innings by Maholm (5-11). The Cubs are 8-13 against left-handed starters this season and 0-2 against Maholm, who is 4-0 in five career starts against them.
Astros 4, Mets 0
HOUSTON – Wandy Rodriguez threw a four-hitter for his first complete game and Lance Berkman had a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 4-0 win over the New York Mets.
Rodriguez (6-7), whose previous longest outing was 7 2-3 innings, struck out eight, tying a career high, and walked one.
All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes failed to run out a ground ball to third that he apparently thought would be foul to end the eighth inning. He was replaced at shortstop by Ruben Gotay in the bottom of the eighth. It was the second time this week that Reyes was removed from a game after failing to run hard on a grounder.
Giants 4, Cardinals 3
ST. LOUIS – Barry Bonds hardly got a chance to move closer to Hank Aaron.
Playing in one of baseball’s most tradition-rich cities, Bonds grounded out, drew three walks and watched his teammates produce in the San Francisco Giants’ 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. He remained at 751 homers, four shy of matching Aaron’s record. Noah Lowry (9-6) struck out five in six innings to win his third straight start.
, and Ray Durham hit an RBI single. Cardinals center fielder So Taguchi did the rest – with a costly misplay that allowed three runs to score in the fifth.