MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Astros use two grand slams to win rubber game against Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jon Singleton and Chris Carter each lifted a grand slam to power the Astros to a 14-5 win over the Twins at Target Field. Robbie Grossman scored three times, while George Springer and Dexter Fowler went deep for Houston, which has won three of four. Darin Downs picked up the win in relief. Samuel Deduno allowed five runs in three-plus innings for the loss. Eduardo Nunez hit a solo homer and knocked in two runs for Minnesota, which has lost three of four.
The Minnesota Twins have signed first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a one-year contract worth a pro-rated $12 million. Morales played 156 games for Seattle last year, hitting .277 with 34 doubles, 23 home runs and 80 runs batted in. The 30-year-old switch-hitter declined a qualifying offer from the Mariners in the offseason and any team that would have signed him prior to the just-concluded draft would have lost a draft pick. Morales broke into the majors with the Angels in 2006 and spent the next six years with club, missing the entire 2011 season because of fractured leg he sustained while celebrating a walk-off grand slam in May 2010. He is a career .280 hitter with 102 homers and 345 RBI in 620 games.
Tonight the Twins embark on a nine-game road trip which begins with a three game series in Toronto. While the Twins have lost three of their last four overall, on the road they've won three of their last five. Toronto comes into tonight's game having dropped a pair of 5-0 decisions to St. Louis over the weekend. Despite the losses, the Blue Jays are still in first place in the American League East and have won 15 of their last 19. Tonight it will be Ricky Nolasco for the Twins (4-5, 5.65 ERA) against R. A. Dickey for the Blue Jays (6-4, 4.25) with first pitch scheduled for 6:07 p.m.
The MLB First-Year Player Draft is in the books. The Twins closed out their selections on Saturday with rounds 11 through 40. South Carolina center fielder Tanner English was their 11th round pick. The Twins took righty Mike Baumann from Mahtomedi High School and catcher Brad Mathiowetz out of Rochester Mayo High back-to-back in the 34th and 35th rounds.
The Minnesota Vikings final Organized Team Activities (OTA's) of the offseason begin today at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. This is the third set of OTA's which will go through Thursday. A mandatory minicamp will follow June 17-19.
A name for the Vikings' new stadium could be coming soon. The "Star-Tribune" says the venue's naming rights are expected to go to U.S. Bank. The report says the deal would be around 25 years and worth seven-to-10-million-dollars per season.
Seimone Augustus poured in 26 points as the Minnesota Lynx got back on track with an 85-72 win over the Los Angeles Sparks Sunday at Staples Center. Lindsay Whalen added 19 points to help the Lynx bounce back from their only loss of the season, a 65-62 setback Friday at Seattle Damiris Dantas and Maya Moore each posted double-doubles in the win, with Dantas tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds and Moore compiling 13 boards along with 12 points. Minnesota led from start to finish, opening the contest on an 11-2 run and roaring out to a 32-16 advantage early in the second quarter after Whalen fed Moore for a layup. Two Candace Parker free throws to close out the first half brought the Sparks within 42-37 at the break, and Los Angeles trailed by just three with 4:33 left to play after Nneka Ogwumike sank a pair of foul shots to make the score 75-72. The Sparks failed to score the rest of the way, however, with Whalen netting the first six points of a game-ending 10-0 spurt. Parker paced Los Angeles with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but went just 9-of-21 from the field.
LeBron James and the Heat are headed back to Miami with the NBA Finals tied at a game apiece after bouncing back from a humbling loss in the series opener. James poured in 35 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and assisted on Chris Bosh's go-ahead 3-pointer down the stretch as the Heat stole Game 2, 98-96, at a much cooler AT&T Center Bosh finished with 18 points, while Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis added 14 apiece for the Heat, who once again avoided back-to- back losses by shooting 52.9 percent from the floor. The Spurs were led by Tony Parker's 21 points and seven assists, while Tim Duncan totaled 18 points with 15 rebounds to tie Magic Johnson for the most postseason double-doubles in NBA history with 157. Manu Ginobili donated 19 points off San Antonio's bench but missed two shots and committed a crucial turnover in the final minute.
Rafael Nadal captured his fifth straight French Open title with a four-set victory over Novak Djokovic on Sunday. Nadal dropped the first set in the final, but bounced back and claimed a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 triumph for his ninth title in the last 10 years on the famed red clay at Roland Garros. The Spaniard improved to 66-1 all-time at the French Open and became the first to win five straight titles in Paris, also earning his 14th career Grand Slam title to tie Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list. Djokovic, meanwhile, failed for the second time to complete a career Grand Slam. He needs only the title in the French capital, but lost to Nadal in the final for the second time in three years.
Sunday was a travel day for the Stanley Cup Finals after the Los Angeles Kings swept the first two games at home against the New York Rangers with overtime victories. Dustin Brown's deflection of a Willie Mitchell point drive slipped past Henrik Lundqvist 10:26 into the second overtime period to give the Kings a 5-4 win on Saturday night. The Kings also claimed a 3-2 overtime win in the opener and have yet to play with a lead in this series, which now shifts to New York for Game 3 on Monday night.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just five laps to go and then held off Keselowski at the finish to win Sunday's Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. It was the first time that Earnhardt has won a Sprint Cup Series race at this 25-mile triangle-shaped track, coming in his 29th start. He also claimed his second win of the season and the 21st of his career in the series. Earnhardt began the season by winning the Feb. 23 Daytona 500.