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Bits: Mauer, Morneau, Willingham go deep

4/13/2012

Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham each homered in Thursday's wild 10-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, the first time the franchise's 3-4-5 hitters had all gone deep in a home game in nearly eight years. For Willingham, it was his fourth home run in a week. For Mauer and Morneau, each aiming to return to prior glory after tough 2011 seasons, those were their first home runs. Don't sell high yet.

• Meanwhile, Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano allowed six runs (five earned) and seven hits in five innings. Five of the runs came in the second inning, so Liriano improved after that, but his ERA stands at an even 10.00 after two outings, with decreasing velocity likely an issue. His spring ERA: 2.33 with 33 strikeouts and five walks. In April: 6 K's, 5 walks. Don't pay attention to spring stats.

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ty Wigginton slugged his first home run of the season Thursday, a blast off the Miami Marlins' Mark Buehrle. Wigginton, also eligible at third base and outfield, isn't off to a particularly good start, but he should play at least against left-handed pitchers, and probably has another 15 home runs in him for those in deep leagues.

• Like Wigginton, San Francisco Giants first baseman Brett Pill figures to see his at-bats against lefties, and he delivered an RBI single off Jamie Moyer on Thursday. Pill has power and showed it in the minors, hitting 25 home runs last season. If the Giants continue to strangely show little faith in Brandon Belt, those in NL-only leagues will want to take a chance on Pill.

Washington Nationals co-closer Brad Lidge struggled Thursday, allowing two hits, two walks and the two runs needed to blow a save against the Cincinnati Reds. With Drew Storen out for a few months, Nationals manager Davey Johnson claims he'll split closing duties with Lidge and Henry Rodriguez, but the door is open for the hard-throwing Rodriguez to seize the role for himself soon.

• Speaking of closers, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Fernando Rodney did not pitch Thursday, but right-hander Joel Peralta did, and after permitting two more runs his season ERA rose to 16.20. It was a good day for Rodney, and his fantasy owners hoping more saves are pending.