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Morneau homers Twins past White Sox
The Minnesota Twins distributed piranha puppets Tuesday night as a fitting tribute to the nickname White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gave them last season for their pesky style.
Then the Sox blew a three-run lead in a 10-inning, 7-4 loss at the Metrodome that made the Twins' day.
"A kind of game like that we have to win," Guillen said after his bullpen blew a three-run lead in the eighth, then lost the game on Justin Morneau's three-run homer off Nick Masset. "The kind of bullpen we have, you got a lead like that, the way we throw out of the bullpen, that's the game you should have. No question."
The bullpen meltdown cost Javier Vazquez the victory and left plenty of frustration the Sox hoped to erase by the time they woke up Wednesday.
"Those types of games can put a team down," Guillen said. "We have to get up and believe in ourselves."
Mike MacDougal, who had allowed only six hits in 11 1/3 innings, surrendered three consecutive hits to start the eighth.
"The only thing we can do … is we have tomorrow," MacDougal said. "We have to put this one behind us. It's a tough thing to swallow. Tying up the game is bad, probably worse."
With first base open and two outs in the eighth, Guillen elected to pitch to Torii Hunter and Hunter delivered a game-tying single off David Aardsma that extended Hunter's hitting streak to 22 games.
"I'm never going to walk the go-ahead run," Guillen said. "I don't care if it's Babe Ruth at the plate, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds. They can call me anything they want. Behind [Hunter] isn't Ozzie Guillen hitting. It's [Michael] Cuddyer. We have to respect that. [Hunter] has a lot of speed and Cuddyer can hit the ball out of the park or into the gap and can score [Hunter]. He got the hit, good for him. The only thing he can do is tie it, and he did."
In the 10th, Andrew Sisco allowed a leadoff double to Luis Castillo. With one out, Masset relieved Sisco and intentionally walked Hunter before inducing Cuddyer to foul out to first.
Guillen elected to have Masset pitch to Morneau, who had snapped the Twins' streak of 189 consecutive at-bats without a homer with a shot off Vazquez in the second.
Morneau ended the suspense when he launched a 444-foot shot over the right-field wall.
"It's not his fault," Guillen said of Masset. "It's the guys who pitched before him."
The Sox believed they were deprived of the first out of the eighth when first baseman Paul Konerko caught Tadahito Iguchi's weak throw and made a sweeping tag on Mike Redmond's elbow. But umpire Dana DeMuth ruled Konerko missed the tag that resulted in the first of three hits off MacDougal.
"I got him," Konerko said. "But in defense of the umpire, that's one of the toughest calls those guys have. And it wasn't like I slammed him in the arm. I definitely touched his arm, but I didn't get a lot of it."
General manager Ken Williams endorsed his coaches, refusing to blame them for the Sox's slow start.
"People want a reaction to a lack of performance in a certain area," Williams said. "But I'm not interested in that. We're interested in a stable franchise that allows us to compete on a yearly basis and to do that, you better keep your people around. That's the long answer.
"The short answer is, I haven't even thought about it."