CHICAGO (AP) — The way he’s hitting, Justin Morneau just might be playing his way onto another team.
Then again, the Twins could hang onto him.
Morneau continued his surge with a grand slam and solo homer, and Minnesota rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-5 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader on Friday.
“I don’t think a hot streak or a cold streak will affect (my trade value) too much,” he said. “If there’s a team that feels like you can contribute, then if they feel like it’s worth giving up something, that’ll happen. If not, I’m happy here.”
Morneau’s been on a tear since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, with a .343 average and five homers in August after Friday’s first game.
Of course, he knows he can still be dealt.
The White Sox pulled off a trade before the game, sending Alex Rios to Texas, and were in line for their fourth straight win before Morneau mucked it up.
His grand slam off reliever Nate Jones with two out in the seventh wiped out a 3-1 deficit. He added a solo drive in the ninth off Ramon Troncoso, making it 7-3.
“It feels like my swing when I go up there, and that’s something I’ve been searching for for a long time,” Morneau said.
Glen Perkins gave up a two-run single to Alexei Ramirez in the bottom half before striking out Adam Dunn to end the game.
Chris Colabello and Oswaldo Arcia also went deep for Minnesota and the Twins came away with the win after dropping two of three at Kansas City.
Chicago’s Paul Konerko tied Cal Ripken Jr. with his 431st home run. Ramirez went deep for the first time since April 3, making it 3-1 with a two-run drive in the fifth, and the White Sox fell after sweeping three from the New York Yankees.
John Danks was in line for his first win since July 2, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it for him.
He left to cheers after walking Clete Thomas and Pedro Florimon to start the seventh.
Matt Lindstrom struck out Brian Dozier before Donnie Veal (1-3) walked Joe Mauer to load the bases.
Then, after Jones struck out Josh Willingham, Morneau drove a 1-2 pitch out to right. The grand slam was the seventh of his career and his first since July 20, 2009, at Oakland.
Gibson lasted 5 2-3 innings for Minnesota and allowed three runs and four hits, including the drives by Konerko and Ramirez. He struck out four and walked four.
Brian Duensing (5-1) struck out Blake Tekotte to end the sixth.
Jared Burton and Casey Fien each worked a scoreless inning before Perkins came in.
“I like what (Gibson) did,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He made a couple of mistakes and they got him both times. Other than that, I thought he was not over-throwing the ball and I thought his sinker looked pretty good. He gave us a good opportunity and the bullpen came in and did really good work.”
For the White Sox, the big news came before the game.
The Rios trade is the latest step as they try to pick themselves up from a dismal season.
It created an opening for Avisail Garcia, the promising outfielder acquired from Detroit as part of a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy from the White Sox to Boston before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
He was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte after the Rios trade was announced.
“These last couple of months, let’s salvage a little,” Danks said. “We all have pride and make the games count.”
NOTES: White Sox LF Dayan Viciedo was scratched from the lineup for Game 1 because of discomfort in his left thumb. He also missed Tuesday’s game against the Yankees after jamming the thumb the previous day. He said through an interpreter that he can hit but feels pain when he tries to catch the ball. … The White Sox purchased the contract of LHP Charlie Leesman and recalling OF Tekotte from Charlotte. Leesman was scheduled to make his major league debut and start the nightcap. … The Twins placed C Ryan Doumit on the seven-day disabled list because of a concussion and activated Willingham (torn meniscus, left knee) from the 15-day DL. … RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-9, 5.23 ERA) starts Saturday for Minnesota, with RHP Andre Rienzo (0-0, 1.38) pitching for the White Sox.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)