Thursday, April 19, 2012

Morneau Blasts a Pair to Defeat Yankees; Matt Cain Runs Scoreless Streak to 18 Innings, Giants Win in 11

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 18, 2012

American League

Justin Morneau spent most of last season on the DL, playing in just 69 games and hitting only four homers, by far his lowest total since becoming a full-time player in 2004.

Justin Morneau
The time off seems to have been worthwhile, because in Minnesota's 6-5 road win over the Yankees, Morneau delivered two balls into the right field seats, helping build a lead that led to victory.

In the first inning, Morneau capped a four-run inning off starter Hiroki Kuroda with a two-run blast and followed up with a solo shot in the fifth - again off Kuroda - that put the Twins up, 6-4. Derek Jeter's ninth inning solo homer saved the lead, but was not enough, sending the Yanks to their second loss in three games against Minnesota.

Morneau finished 3-for-4, scored three times and drove in three. His pair of homers gives him four on the season, the same number he hit all of last year.

The Twins and Yankees conclude their four game series Thursday night.

National League

Cain: 2 hits over 9
innings, no decision
Cliff Lee and Matt Cain were locked into an outstanding pitching duel, neither hurler allowing a run in the Giants' 1-0, 11-inning win over visiting Philadelphia. Lee went 10 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out seven without a walk, but Cain (1-0) was even better over nine innings, giving up just two hits and a walk, fanning four.

The Giants, without bullpen ace Brian Wilson, who has been lost for the season with ligament damage to his right elbow, used four relievers in the 10th and 11th, Clay Hensley picking up the win with 1/3 of an inning to close out the Phillies in the 11th before Melky Cabrera drove home Brandon Belt with one out in the bottom of the inning.

Cain's mound command could not have been better, even though he received no decision for his work. After the fifth inning, which ended in a double play, Cain did not allow a hit or walk a batter. It was his second straight shutout performance, running his string of scoreless innings to 18. On Friday the 13th, Cain pitched a one-hitter for a 5-0 win over Pittsburgh. Over the past two games, Cain has allowed just three hits and one walk, striking out 15.

The Giants took two of three from the Phillies in the three-game series, improving to 6-6. The Phillies, last year's NL East champs, are 5-7, last in the division, 4 1/2 games behind streaking, 10-3, Washington.

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