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Morneau leaves in fifth inning

DETROIT -- Minnesota Twins star Justin Morneau didn't play after the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers because of a stiff back.

"He had a little stiffness in his upper back, but it isn't anything serious or related to last year," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after Tuesday's 2-0 win. "It was a cold night and [Justin] Verlander had him swinging and missing a lot, so he stiffened up a bit. We just did the smart thing."

The 2006 AL MVP played his final game last season on Sept. 12 because of a back injury. Minnesota rallied to win the AL Central without him, beating Detroit in the 163rd game.

Morneau struck out in each of his three at-bats against Verlander in the series opener. He had reached base in each of Minnesota's first 19 games, hitting in 16 of them.