This “just in” — Justin Morneau can still hit dingers. The Twins first baseman hit two of them this afternoon against the White Sox: a grand slam in the seventh off of Ramon Troncoso to give the Twins a 5-3 lead, and a solo shot in the eighth to remove the save opportunity for closer Glen Perkins by bumping the score to 7-3. Perkins gave up two runs in the ninth on an Alexei Ramirez single, but held on for the 7-5 victory in game one of the day-night doubleheader.
August has been kind to Morneau thus far. In 36 trips to the plate, he has hit five home runs and has only struck out five times. He entered the afternoon 8-for-11 with the bases loaded, but with no grand slams. The slam is his first since July 20, 2009 when he took Gio Gonzalez of the Athletics deep in a wacky 14-13 loss.
The Twins and White Sox match up again shortly as Liam Hendriks is scheduled to face off against Charles Leesman, making his Major League debut for the White Sox.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.