Colorado (33-33) at Minnesota (36-27)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu Jun 12, 2003
  • TV: FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Minnesota Twins rookie Justin Morneau is making the most of his first few games in the majors, and he’s doing it in front of his boyhood idol.

The Twins hope Morneau continues his strong hitting as they complete a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at the Metrodome.

Morneau and teammate Corey Koskie grew up in Canada playing hockey and baseball, and both said they were excited playing against fellow Canadian and Colorado star Larry Walker.

“It probably fires Justin up more,” Koskie said. “He’s in the big leagues at age 22, and I was still trying to pursue my hockey dream at that age. But Larry’s the best Canadian hitter ever. What he’s done is incredible.”

Morneau said he met Walker for the first time before Wednesday’s game, and the Rockies outfielder wished him luck.

“When I saw who we were playing, I thought, ‘I get into the big leagues and meet Larry Walker at the same time’,” Morneau said.

Koskie had four hits and Morneau added three more as the Minnesota Twins beat the Colorado Rockies 7-4 on Wednesday, ending a five-game home losing streak. The Twins, who managed just three hits Tuesday in a 5-0 loss, built a 7-1 lead through six innings Wednesday and finished with 15 hits.

Minnesota moved 4 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City in the AL Central.

Morneau went 3-for-4, batting cleanup for the second consecutive game since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester. He got his first major league RBI with a first-inning single. Koskie finished 4-for-4 with two doubles and two singles.

Walker has struggled to find his stroke at the plate this season. The three-time NL batting champ is hitting .274 and has been dropped to fifth in the Rockies’ batting order. Walker has only one home run in the last 35 games, a span of 100 at-bats.

STANDINGS: Rockies - 3rd place, 8 GB, NL West. Twins - 1st place, AL Central.

ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Darren Oliver (3-4, 4.67 ERA). Oliver is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in his last four outings. The veteran left-hander pitched 2 2-3 innings of relief, allowing one run and three hits in Colorado’s 9-5 loss to Kansas City in the second game of their doubleheader on Saturday.

TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kenny Rogers (4-2, 4.82 ERA). Rogers failed to earn a decision after holding San Diego to one run and five hits in seven innings of the Twins’ 7-5 win Friday. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts against Colorado.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .321 avg. and 53 runs; Preston Wilson, 15 HRs and 57 RBIs; Wilson and Walker, 5 SBs. Twins - Jacques Jones, .312 avg. and 39 runs; Torii Hunter, 9 HRs and 38 RBIs; Jones and Koskie, 6 SBs.

INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Rockies - 5-3; Twins - 5-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - OF Walker is 0-for-8 in his career against LHP Rogers. … Colorado has hit 15 homers in June after hitting only 20 in May…. SS Jose Hernandez has six strikeouts against Minnesota in two games, increasing his total to a major league-leading 89. Twins - Minnesota is only 16-15 at home after going 54-27 at the Metrodome in 2002. … OF Jones is batting .225 (9-for-40) in June. He batted .326 in April and .333 in May. … The Twins’ first four hitters went 11-for-17 at the plate on Wednesday.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 8-23 on the road; Twins - 16-15 at home.

INJURIES: Rockies - 2B Ronnie Belliard (ankle), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (back), 15-day DL; RHP Denny Stark (side), 60-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL. Twins - INF Chris Gomez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Rick Reed (back), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Óliver Tor vs. K. Rogers Det
13-11 Record 13-8
5.04 ERA 4.57
88 K 116
61 BB 50
1.45 WHIP 1.42