Morneau, Mauer spearheading offensive surge
MINNEAPOLIS -- After struggling to score runs in April, the Twins have caught fire offensively in May behind Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.
Minnesota is tied with Detroit with the most runs scored in baseball this month, with 76 in 13 games. The Twins are averaging 5.8 runs per game, which is a marked improvement on the four runs per game they averaged in April.
Morneau has been a big reason for the turnaround, as he has a hit in 10 straight games -- after going 2-for-5 in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the White Sox -- and is batting .425 (17-for-40) over that stretch. He also leads the Majors with 17 RBIs in May.
"He's a huge part of our lineup," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "This guy has been an MVP. He's been beat up the last couple years, but you can see what he can do when he's healthy. He can come up and drive a baseball. I think the best part of it is last year you saw a smile on his face and he was healthy and better. And this year since Spring Training, he hasn't really had to hold back at all. And so that's been fun to watch."
Mauer is also a major part of the offense's success, as he extended his hit streak to a season-high 13 games with a single in the first inning against the White Sox on Tuesday. Gardenhire said he'll continue to bat Mauer second in the lineup despite not getting much production from the leadoff spot, as Twins leadoff hitters have combined to rank last in the Majors with a .189 batting average and a .231 on-base percentage.
"I like Joe where he's at," Gardenhire said. "The lineup rolls around him. He seems to come up with some pretty big situations. If I move him up, I still have to move everybody else around. Who would be our second hitter? [Josh] Willingham isn't a second hitter and Morneau isn't a second hitter. So we'll let it flow. Right now we're swinging good and scoring runs, so we'll leave them the way they are."