MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Twins trade Morneau to Pirates
PITTSBURGH (Sports Network) - Locked in a race for the NL Central crown, the Pittsburgh Pirates bolstered their roster on Saturday, acquiring veteran first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins.
Outfielder Alex Presley is headed to the Twin Cities, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Morneau was hitting .259 with 17 home runs, 32 doubles and 74 RBI over 127 games for the floundering Twins this season. The 32-year-old native of suburban Vancouver moves on from the only pro franchise he's known after amassing 221 homers, 289 doubles and 860 RBI over 1,278 games since breaking into the majors during the 2003 season. Morneau won the AL MVP in 2006 for Minnesota, hitting .321 with career bests of 34 HRs and 130 runs batted in. He was a four-time All-Star selection (2007-10) with the Twins as well. Presley, 28, participated in 29 games this season for the Bucs, batting .264 with two homers and four RBI. Over his four-year career, all with Pittsburgh, the Louisiana native has collected 16 homers, 28 doubles, 14 triples and knocked in 49 runs in 204 contests.
Leonys Martin's RBI-single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the AL West-leading Texas Rangers over the Minnesota Twins, 2-1, in the second test of a three-game series in Arlington, Texas. The Twins sent Caleb Thielbar (2-2) to the mound to start the ninth. Alex Rios doubled down the left-field line before pinch-hitter Jeff Baker was intentionally walked. Jurickson Profar flied out for the second out, but Josh Roenicke came in from the bullpen and walked pinch-hitter Craig Gentry to load the bases. Martin then greeted Brian Duensing with a base hit up the middle, scoring Rios. Texas starter Matt Garza allowed one run on three hits while striking out nine over seven innings. Joe Nathan (5-2) tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up the win. Mike Pelfrey got the start for Minnesota and gave up one run on six hits while striking out seven over seven full frames. Each team scored once in the first inning. Brian Dozier led off the game with a homer to left. Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler hit consecutive one-out singles in the bottom half. Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly made it 1-1. Both starting pitchers settled in after that.
The Minnesota Vikings finalized their 53- man roster on Saturday, releasing 19 players. On the offensive side of the ball, the team cut tight ends Colin Anderson and Chase Ford, running back Joe Banyard, guard Travis Bond, wide receivers Stephen Burton, Rodney Smith and Adam Thielen and tackles Brandon Keith and Kevin Murphy. The defense saw safeties Brandan Bishop and Darius Eubanks, cornerbacks Brandon Burton and Bobby Felder, defensive tackles Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Spencer Nealy, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, and defensive ends D'Aundre Reed and Collins Ukwu released. Also on Saturday, the team placed guard Seth Olsen on injured reserve, placed fullback Jerome Felton and tackle DeMarcus Love on the suspended list, wide receiver Greg Childs on the physically unable to perform list and announced that defensive tackle Christian Ballard has left the team. Olsen suffered a concussion in Thursday's preseason finale against the Titans, while Felton is suspended for the first three games due to a DUI charge in 2012, and Love was handed a four-game ban after violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Maya Moore scored 30 points to lead the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Lynx in a 97-74 thrashing of the Seattle Storm. Moore made 12-of-15 field goals, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Seimone Augustus supplied 16 points and Rachel Jarry added 14 off the bench for the Lynx, who maintained a one-game lead over Los Angeles for the top spot in the conference. The Sparks topped San Antonio on Saturday, enabling the Storm to clinch a WNBA record 10th consecutive playoff berth. Tina Thompson paced Seattle with 18 points, while Tanisha Wright posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists.