It took some time, but the Minnesota Twins have finally found out how to win.
They can record a third straight victory and series sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Less than 24 hours after Minnesota (2-9) rallied to earn its first victory, 5-4 over Los Angeles, it again came from behind to win 6-4 on Saturday. Oswaldo Arcia and Byung Ho Park hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to break open a tie game and give the Twins another reason to celebrate.
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"It's a two-game winning streak," Park said through a translator. "It's great to hear the (celebratory) music in the clubhouse again."
Though the Twins are far from a polished product, they've scored 11 runs in the series after totaling 14 in their nine losses.
Park, a former star in South Korea, has a hit in three straight games to raise his average .194. He also didn't strike out Saturday after fanning 14 times in his first eight major league contests.
"The one thing that I don't think people realize, there's something about seeing a guy multiple times over years, and everybody he's facing, it's for the first time," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You watch video, you can do different things and compare yourself to other hitters and how you might get pitched. But you've got to go up there and see it and so that's a tough thing to ask for a guy, even if he's got experience in another league."
Now that the Twins have learned to win, they'll try to help Kyle Gibson (0-2, 4.22 ERA) achieve a positive result. The right-hander, who failed to complete six innings in either of his two outings, gave up three runs - one earned - and six hits over 5 2-3 frames of a 4-1 home defeat to the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Gibson is 0-2 with a 7.18 ERA in five starts against the Angels (5-6), but hopes to reverse those fortunes as Minnesota looks to complete its first series sweep of at least three games over them since April 2009.
Mike Trout is 3 for 8 with a homer against Gibson. Albert Pujols has also gone deep for one of his three hits in 13 at-bats when facing Gibson.
Trout is 1 for 7 in the series. Pujols went hitless in four at-bats after going 2 for 3 with his first home run Friday for the Angels, who have hit a wall after winning four straight prior to this series.
Los Angeles' bullpen has struggled in the two losses, allowing five runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. Its relievers gave up three runs over 22 2-3 innings of the previous seven games.
"We've got to get it going down there on our end," said reliever Joe Smith, who surrendered both eighth-inning homers Saturday.
From a rotation standpoint, the Angels hope to get another solid effort from Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00). The right-hander gave up six hits and struck out six over five-plus scoreless innings of Monday's 4-1 victory at Oakland.
"Every time you go out there, you want to contribute to the win, help your team win," said Tropeano, who is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last four starts.
He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Twins in September.
Los Angeles placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee. He is hitting .286 in 14 at-bats.