The Los Angeles Angels played the rubber game of their three-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon at Target Field. In the end, the Halos blew two separate leads and came up just short in a ninth-inning comeback, losing the series with a 10-9 defeat.
The Angels opened their scoring in the top of the second inning on a Mark Trumbo solo home run. The Angels would tack on four more runs in the top of the second, thanks to a Peter Bourjos RBI double, a two-RBI single by Maicer Izturis and a Torii Hunter sacrifice fly. The Angels added another run in the top of the fifth when Vernon Wells hit a ground-rule double to drive in Trumbo and make it 6-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Twins cut the Angels lead in half with a three-run homer by Joe Mauer, which was the first time in the game that starter Dan Haren had really faltered. Haren ended up throwing 30 pitches in the inning and allowed two more baserunners, but struck out Danny Valencia to get out of the jam.
In the sixth inning, Hisanori Takahasi replaced Haren on the mound and after getting the first two outs, gave up a walk and two singles to load the bases. Mike Scioscia pulled Takahashi and brought in Kevin Jepsen, who got Justin Morneau to fly out to left field to end the threat.
Josh Willingham hit a home run to left field off of Jepsen to lead off the Twins' seventh inning, which was followed by a double to Chris Parmelee. Valencia next hit a single and while Parmelee was held a third, a bad throw by Hunter allowed Valencia to advance to second, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Ben Revere flew out to left, after which Scott Downs came on in relief of Jepsen. Luke Hughes skied the first pitch from Downs to the warning track, where Wells and Bourjos nearly collided. Bourjos made the catch for the out, but Parmelee scored on the sacrifice fly and Valencia moved to third as the Angels' lead was cut to 6-5. Denard Span hit an infield chopper and Downs raced to cover first base. As Downs went to step on first, he both rolled his ankle and inadvertently had his foot stepped on by Span while dropping the ball, allowing the tying run to score with Span safe at first base. Downs immediately left the game, limping but under his own power as Span expressed concern. Rich Thompson came out of the Angels bullpen to take over. Span was able to steal second base, but Thompson struck out Jamey Carroll on a foul tip to end the inning.
Vernon Wells singled to lead off the top of the eighth inning. Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales flied out to right field but Bourjos singled to bring Wells home, once again giving the Angels the lead, 7-6.
In the bottom of the eighth, Mauer led off the inning with his third hit of the game. Justin Morneau followed up by hammering a 2-1 offspeed pitch by Thompson for a two-run homer as the Twins reclaimed the lead, 8-7. Willingham reached base on his third hit of the inning, which glanced off the glove of Callaspo at third base. Parmelee struck out, but Valencia doubled in Willingham for an insurance run. Valencia moved to third base on a Revere ground-out and came home on a Luke Hughes single. Thompson walked Span after getting ahead in the count 0-2 and Carroll became the ninth batter of the inning, but grounded out to second base. Thompson finished having given up four runs in 1.1 innings, on five hits and a walk.
Matt Capps came in to close things out for the Twins and face the heart of the Angels lineup. Pujols led off with a single, his first hit in five at-bats for the day and the first hit from the Angels 2-3-4 hitters, who had to that point gone 0-for-12. Torii Hunter then hit a ground ball up the middle that looked like a double-play ball, but hit the second-base bag and skipped into center field, putting runners at the corners with no outs for Trumbo, who put a single into left field to bring Pujols home and cut the lead to 10-8, still with no outs.
The Angels will head to the Big Apple on Friday to begin a three-game series against the New York Yankees before returning to Edison Field for a seven-game homestand. Vernon Wells was called safe at first base on a seeming double play, again putting runners at the corners with one out for Callaspo. Callaspo grounded out to first base, scoring Hunter and putting the tying run in scoring position for Chris Iannetta. Iannetta hit a slow dribbler up the third base line, but Valencia was just able to throw him out at first, ending the game in a Los Angeles loss.
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