Santana, Angels surge past TwinsMINNEAPOLIS — Ervin Santana pitched 7Zc innings and got some run support from the Los Angeles Angels offense for the first time in his past six starts in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
By: Jon Krawczynski, The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Ervin Santana pitched 7Zc innings and got some run support from the Los Angeles Angels offense for the first time in his past six starts in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
Santana (1-6) gave up two runs and six hits and Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBIs for the Angels, who took two of three from the Twins. Mike Trout had two doubles, two RBIs and scored twice and Howie Kendrick added three hits for Los Angeles.
Carl Pavano (2-3) was knocked out of the game before there was an out in the fifth inning for the Twins, who are an MLB-worst 8-22. He gave up five runs — four earned — and 10 hits in his shortest outing of the season.
Josh Willingham hit his sixth homer of the season and also had a double for the Twins.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Sam Holbrook, but that was about the only thing that went wrong for Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
With Pujols struggling mightily in his first season in the American League, the Angels have been shut out seven times this season. Santana is the first pitcher since 1974 to go through five straight starts where his offense was shut out, according to STATS LLC.
When Trout’s double scored Erick Aybar in the third inning, it was the first time Santana had received a run of support since the third inning on April 8 against Kansas City. Santana was shown on television throwing his hands up in celebration, and the Angels didn’t stop there.
Pujols added an RBI single and Alberto Callaspo scored thanks to a throwing error from first baseman Joe Mauer that hit Pujols in the back on his way to second base for a 3-0 lead. Pujols came up a little gimpy on the play, but he quickly shooed trainers off the field and stayed in the game.
Los Angeles tacked on two more in the fifth, getting rocket doubles to the gap from Trout and Callaspo to start the inning and chase Pavano, who has been searching for lost velocity all season long. With a fastball that routinely was clocked in the mid-80s, and an unwillingness to pitch inside, the Angels hitters were able to crowd the plate and hammer the outside corners early and often.
Pavano gave up four doubles and only lasted as long as he did thanks to three inning-ending double plays.
Santana certainly wasn’t blameless for the 0-5 record he carried into the outing. The right-hander gave up 19 earned runs and 10 homers in his first four starts, one of the chief reasons the Angels got off to such a surprisingly poor start.
But he’s gotten progressively better over his past three outings, looking more and more like the reliable 16-game winner he was last season. He’s allowed seven earned runs in 22 1-3 innings over his past three starts.
Notes: Twins GM Terry Ryan said DH Justin Morneau received a cortisone shot in his sore left wrist at the Cleveland Clinic. The plan is for him to take some swings on Saturday. While still early in his DL stint, the Twins are hopeful Morneau will be ready to come off on May 15 and join the team for the eight-game road trip that begins in Detroit on May 16. ... Torii Hunter hit into two double plays, and the two struggling offenses combined for five in the game. ... Angels LF Vernon Wells made an outstanding catch on a dead run to rob Mauer of an extra-base hit in the sixth. .... The Angels have the day off on Thursday before beginning a big series at Texas on Friday. LHP C.J. Wilson (4-2, 2.61) will pitch his first game against the Rangers on Friday night while RHP Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54) will pitch for Texas. ... The Twins open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Thursday. Jason Marquis (2-1, 5.40) will pitch Game 1 for Minnesota against RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-2, 2.83).