Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau, Team Terrorize 7 Orioles Pitchers in 19-7 Win

Tom Schreier@tschreier3Correspondent IJuly 17, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 08:  Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins at bat against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 8, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After being swept by the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins fans may have expected the Baltimore Orioles to swarm upon their team like the seagulls in The Birds.

But it was a different Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho, that dovetailed with tonight’s storyline.

Joe Mauer put the Twins on the board in the first inning with an RBI single, giving starter Scott Diamond some cushion to work with. Justin Morneau’s double down the left field line, and a Trevor Plouffe walk loaded the bases for designated hitter Ryan Doumit.

Doumit advanced on an error by Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds, allowing two runners to score. The next batter, Brian Dozier, would bring another runner home.

And it just kept coming!

Jamey Carroll would draw a walk, loading the bases for Span (yes, the Twins turned over the lineup in the first) who chased Tillman from the ballgame with a bases-clearing double.

You could hear the siren from Psycho going off in Tillman’s head as he left the field.


Reliever Miguel Socolovich would get Revere to ground out to end the inning, but Minnesota would leave the inning with a 7-0 lead.

“A couple nice walks,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, “and some big hits in that first inning.”

Then…it happened.

The hometown kid unleashed a healthy dose of Mauer Power upon Socolovich’s 2-1 offering, placing it among the flowers on the right field wall (Tip-toe, though the tulips).

Willingham would single on the next at-bat and Morneau would try to get in on the action as well, but would fly out to shallow center. Babe Plouffe would ground into a double play.

But the runs kept coming for the Twins in the next inning too.

Carroll: walked.

Span: walked.

Balk. Both runners advance.

Revere singles when the ball takes a weird hop off of second base, scoring both runners.

Ten runs in three innings. Ten!


Socolovich’s uniform was drenched in sweat as he headed to the dugout in the third inning, but he probably avoided the showers after this game.

“Good night for us: run around and score some runs,” continued Gardenhire. “Actually have your fans yell good things.”

Kevin Gregg entered the game in the bottom of the fourth for the Orioles, but he fared no better.

The first batter he faced, Willingham, walked and Morneau singled to right, allowing Plouffe to hit a runner in with men on the corners before Dozier grounded into a double play.

Four innings. Four crooked numbers.

“We’ve been taking a few beatings lately,” said Gardenhire. “It’s nice to be on this side of one where we actually bang the ball around.”

The Orioles tried to play catch-up. Reynolds would hit a three-run bomb off of Diamond in the bottom of the fifth to bring the score within six, 11-5.

Span led off the bottom of the fifth with a single, but the Twins could not capitalize. Mauer struck out looking and for the first time in five innings Baltimore would put a zero up on the board, allowing Gregg to leave the game with his mind at ease. (Minnesota nice, I guess).

Willingham and Morneau would not let the next reliever, Darren O’Day, off so easy though. The Alabaman would lead off with a single and the Canadian would knock him in with a double. (O’Day started throwing to third base with nobody on after this).

Babe Plouffe put men on the corners with a single, allowing Doumit to score Morneau with a sac fly. Dozier tried to take him deep, but flew out to left (Southern hospitality?).

Carroll wasn’t so nice. His single sliced like a dagger through the middle of the diamond, scoring yet another runner.

The score at the end of seven: 14-5.


(General) Troy Patton would enter the game and restore order for the O’s, retiring the side in the eighth, but the next reliever, Jim Johnson, couldn’t close the curtains on the Twins Horror Picture Show.

Morneau led off the inning with his season-high fourth hit on Jim Johnson. Plouffe (leadoff song: Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks—pretty fitting here) then doubled, bringing Doumit to the plate with men on second and third and no outs.

Doumit hit directly at the first baseman, but scored Morneau.

Dozier: hit by pitch.

Carroll: single to right-center.

Span: double down the right field line.


“It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those,” said Morneau on his four-hit night. “Hopefully it’s just…starting to turn around for everybody.”

In came Matt Lindstrom.

Revere: dagger up the middle.

Drew Butera pinch hit for Mauer and ended the inning by hitting into a double play.

By that time the damage was done.

Seven pitchers faced. Six crooked numbers. Nineteen runs scored.

“[We] came out the first half against Tillman and put some pressure on him,” said center fielder Denard Span after the win, “saw some pitches and were able to break it open.”

The 32,445 people attending Game 1 saw a thriller that would have made Hitchcock squirm.

On Monday night the Twins went psycho on the birds.

All quotes were obtained first-hand.

Tom Schreier writes for TheFanManifesto.com.

Follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.


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