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Rockies host Twins as Morneau faces former team
(SportsNetwork.com) - Former American League MVP Justin Morneau gets set to face his former team for the first time on Friday night, as the Colorado Rockies host the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Coors Field.
Despite not being an All-Star, Morneau was named Thursday as the final member of the National League team for the Home Run Derby next Monday night at Target Field, where he once called home with the Twins organization.
Morneau played in Minnesota for 10-plus seasons from 2003-13, winning AL MVP in 2006 and the Home Run Derby in 2008 over Josh Hamilton at Yankee Stadium. He was a finalist to be selected by fans as the last NL All-Star, a vote that was won by Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
He enters the weekend series hitting .313 with 13 homers and 59 RBI on the season.
"It's been nice," said Morneau, who was let go by the Twins nearly 10 months ago. "I feel I can produce again."
Colorado had Thursday off after clinching a series victory over San Diego a day earlier with a 6-3 win. Four Rockies players combined for five homers, including two from Troy Tulowitzki. Drew Stubbs delivered a two-run shot in the eighth to break a 3-3 tie.
Meanwhile, Minnesota earned its third straight win in Seattle with Thursday's 4-2 victory.
Yohan Pino, a 30-year-old rookie, earned his first big league victory by pitching five innings of one-run ball. Kendrys Morales added two RBI against his former team.
"Ultimately we won three out of four here, and that's pretty good for us," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We set out to have a winning road trip, and we're off to a good start."
Toeing the rubber for Minnesota in Friday's opener is Kris Johnson. Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to fill in for Ricky Nolasco, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain. It marks the second big league start of the season for Johnson. The left-hander threw 4 1/3 shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 1, although he walked six batters to go along with his five strikeouts in that outing.
Johnson has a 2.75 ERA in 16 minor league starts this season.
For Colorado, Jorge De La Rosa eyes up a fourth victory in as many starts. Most recently, the southpaw yielded two earned runs in six innings against the Dodgers on Saturday. It was the Rockies' third victory in 19 games at the time, and De La Rosa was on the mound for all three.
"I never put that pressure on myself, just try to go out there and give the team a chance to win every time," De La Rosa said.
Minnesota took two of three from the Rockies when these teams last met in 2010.
07/11 11:00:34 ET
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