There was a time when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau homering in the same game wouldn't have been worth an extra note or blog post. They were the M&M boys, the sluggers with the big bats who formed one of the best cornerstones in baseball. Providing power was their job.
Of course, that was before injuries bounced the Minnesota Twins stars in and out of the lineup and before the franchise moved into a Target Field that would prove even bigger than we thought.
So don't think Twins fans watched what transpired in the fifth and eight innings of Thursday's 10-9 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Angels and took it for granted:
"That feeling when it comes off the bat and you know it's gone, there's nothing like that in baseball," Morneau said.
To find the last game that both Mauer and Morneau homered in, you'd have to go all the way back to the July 6, 2010 contest in Toronto. Morneau suffered the concussion that derailed his career the next day, starting the extended drought from the pair of former MVPs.
To put the duo's diminished stats in perspective, Mauer and Morneau have now hit a total of seven home runs at Target Field, matching the number posted by Toronto's Jose Bautista. (Come to think of it, that stat also puts Bautista's brilliance into perspective, seeing as how he's only played seven games in the Twins' new home).
It should also be noted that it's not a given that both players would have homered on the same day before now even if Morneau had been healthy. Mauer has suffered from his own variety of ailments and famously seen his power drop from the 28 homers he hit in his MVP season in 2009. Thursday's blast in the fifth inning was only the second homer that Mauer has hit at Target Field since it opened in 2010. That power drop was a big reason why Mauer has heard boos from his home fans, including after popping out with the bases loaded in the third inning.
"You can always hear (the boos)," Mauer told reporters after the game. "Not just with me but, you know, they're frustrated. We missed a couple of plays and you just have to stay positive. It's a new year."
Twins fans are hoping that he's right. They're hoping to see Thursday again.
- Justin Morneau
- Joe Mauer