Joe Mauer responds to boos with a home run: 'This is a new ball club'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer came to the plate in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded, one out and the Minnesota Twins trailing the Los Angeles Angels 6-0.
He quickly fell behind 0-2 to right-hander Dan Haren, and after fouling one off, Mauer popped a pitch straight up the elevator shaft for the second out.
On his way back to the dugout, a large chunk of the 31,782 in attendance at Target Field expressed their displeasure with a chorus of boos.
"I know a lot of the fans are still frustrated by last season," Mauer said, "but this is a new ball club and a new team and we're going to fight until that 27th out is recorded."
On Thursday, that's what the Twins did, including Mauer, who answered two innings later with a booming three-run homer into the right-field seats, cutting the lead to 6-3 and igniting an eventual comeback.
The booing seemed to stem from built-up frustration from last year's 99-loss season -- a season in which Mauer posted the lowest batting average of his career (.287).
"It was a little frustrating for me in my first couple of at bats to not get some runs in," Mauer said. "To come back up the third time and put three runs on the board was big. ...
"You can always hear (the boos). 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."
The home run was just Mauer's second ever at Target Field, and just his fourth home run overall since 2010. Coupled with Justin Morneau's blast in the eighth inning and it marked the first time Mauer and Morneau had homered in the same game since July 6, 2010.
"We know we can (come from behind and win)," Mauer said. "Maybe everybody else doesn't. It's good to prove to everybody that we're going to keep fighting for that last out and we have been this season, but we finally got something to show for it."