With each futile swing of the bat, the first stage of Josh Willingham's comeback from the disabled list grew increasingly disheartening Friday in Chicago.
Luckily for the Twins outfielder, who'd been out for more than a month following surgery for a meniscus tear, the men batting behind him were a little bit sharper.
After Willingham's swinging strikeout with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, No. 4-hole hitter Justin Morneau stepped in and clobbered a pitch from reliever Nate Jones into the right-field bleachers. The clutch Canadian's seventh career grand slam turned a two-run deficit into a 5-3 advantage, and Minnesota relievers Brian Duensing, Jared Burton, Casey Fien and Glen Perkins kept it aloft in a doubleheader- and series-opening, 7-5 victory in front of 17,439 at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
In a game where every run came courtesy of a long ball, Morneau improved to a major-league best 9-for-12 with the bases loaded this season. He added an...