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Twins 7, Pirates 6


Twins 7, Pirates 6
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Justin Morneau wrapped up a big spring, doubling and driving in three runs Saturday as the Minnesota Twins beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6.

The former AL MVP hit .394 with three home runs in 14 exhibition games for the Twins. He also went 4-for-9 for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

Morneau showed no ill effects from the back soreness that hampered him this past week. He hit .300 with a team-high 23 home runs and 129 RBIs last season.

"No, not at all," Morneau said when asked if his back still troubled him. "I'm good to go."

The Twins will be counting on him again, especially with catcher Joe Mauer, who usually hits in front of Morneau, out for at least the next two weeks because of inflammation in his lower back.

"We'll hold down the fort until then," Morneau said. "Guys are ready to get after it. I'm looking forward to it."

The Twins finished spring training with a 19-13 record.

"Everything's fine," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're ready to go. We'll see what happens."

The Pirates went 17-15, which pleased second-year manager John Russell.

"It gives us some confidence," he said. "You've got to start somewhere. We worked hard all spring. Winning makes it nice. The real season starts Monday."

Most of the regulars started but left the game early. Twins outfielder Denard Span went 2-for-2 and scored twice. He hit .190 this spring but he drew a team-high 10 walks.

"All of those hits I didn't get wouldn't have counted," said Span, whose team-high 84 at-bats were 11 short of the late Kirby Puckett's spring training record of 95 in 1985. "I feel ready."

Pittsburgh rallied in the eighth inning, scoring four runs off Twins reliever Phil Humber and pulling to within one run at 7-6.

Twins starter Glen Perkins, fourth in the rotation, gave up two runs and eight hits in five innings.

"I think I made a lot of good pitches," Perkins said. "I got to where I wanted to be. I hit it right on the nose."

Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf gave up five earned runs and eight hits in four innings.

Notes: Twins pitcher Scott Baker, scratched from his scheduled opening day start on Monday because of shoulder soreness, is scheduled to start Friday for Class A Fort Myers.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 4, 2009

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