Justin Morneau has to be wondering how good his numbers would be if he didn’t miss two weeks with a concussion.
The Twins’ slugging first baseman will try to continue his offensive surge when Minnesota tries for a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.
Morneau was 4-for-12 (.333) with one RBI before getting hit in the head by a pitch from Seattle’s Ron Villone on April 6—Minnesota’s third game of the season. He didn’t return to the lineup until April 26, and hasn’t stopped hitting since.
Morneau is batting .390 with six homers and 17 RBIs, and has driven in at least one run in all but three of 12 games since his return.
On Saturday, Morneau wasn’t even in manager Ron Gardenhire’s starting lineup, but that didn’t stop him from breaking open the game. After coming in as a defensive replacement in the eighth, Morneau hit a three-run homer in the ninth as Minnesota pulled away for an easy 8-1 victory.
Last year, Morneau had 19 homers and 58 RBIs in just 74 games.
The Twins have won three straight since a three-game losing streak, and have won eight of 11 overall.
Tampa Bay entered this series off three straight victories against the New York Yankees, but the Devil Rays have managed just two runs in consecutive losses.
Julio Lugo’s sacrifice fly provided the only offense Saturday as Tampa Bay lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
“The difference in this ballgame—forget the score—Minnesota, they got men on base and brought them in,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We got men on base and didn’t. I don’t know what to do, I really don’t. I wish I had the answers for you, but I don’t.”