(Monday, April 9th)
Final Score: LA Angels of Anaheim 5, Minnesota 1
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - C.J. Wilson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his debut with the Angels, and LA defeated Minnesota, 5-1, in the first game of a three-game series at Target Field on Monday.
Wilson (1-0) inked a five-year, $77.5 million deal with LA in the offseason after going 16-7 with a 2.94 earned run average in 34 starts with the rival Texas Rangers last year. The lefty hurler allowed just three hits while striking out five and walking four.
"I think when it's a little chilly and dry like it was, the grip is definitely an issue," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "But C.J. [Wilson] made pitches when he had to, even though he was a little erratic with those walks. He pitched a strong game."
Chris Iannetta belted a two-run double in the seventh, while Torii Hunter, who was chosen 20th overall by the Twins in the 1993 MLB draft, knocked in a run and added two hits against his former club. Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar added an RBI apiece as the Halos bounced back after dropping two of three to the Royals to start the season.
Nick Blackburn (0-1) allowed five runs on five hits over six-plus innings of work and Josh Willingham smacked a solo home run in the fourth to account for Minnesota's lone run. Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit tallied hits for the Twins, who fell to 0-4 for the first time since losing the first four games of the 1981 season.
"You don't ever want to start 0-4 and put yourself in a big hole, so it's frustrating," remarked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "But it's not the end of the world right now. We can go on a five- or six-game winning streak and we're back above .500. The game can turn quickly."
The Halos used a two-out rally to score two in the first inning. Aybar worked a leadoff walk, but Howie Kendrick followed with a fly out and Albert Pujols grounded into a fielder's choice that took Aybar off the base path for the second out. Pujols then went first-to-third on Kendrys Morales' single to center and came around to score on a single from Hunter. Abreu then plated Morales with a ground-rule double down the left-field line to make it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Willingham belted his second home run of the year on Wilson's first pitch of the home fourth, a changeup that made its way into the bleachers in left field to cut the deficit in half for the Twins.
After the shaky first inning, Blackburn settled in and allowed just one baserunner -- on an error -- over the next five frames before running into trouble in the top of the seventh. Abreu worked a leadoff walk and Alberto Callaspo followed with a single before Iannetta lifted a double into left- center field, scoring Abreu and Callaspo to extend the lead to 4-1.
The two-run double marked the end of Blackburn's day as Jared Burton entered and induced a groundout from Peter Bourjos that pushed Iannetta over to third. After Glen Perkins replaced Burton, the Angels tacked on another run as Aybar executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score Iannetta and provide Wilson with some breathing room.
The Twins got the first two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, but Aybar snared a liner off the bat of Doumit and doubled up Justin Morneau at second before Kevin Jepsen induced a ground out from Danny Valencia to secure the win.
The Angels took six of nine contests against the Twins last season...Hunter spent his first 11 seasons in Minnesota and compiled 192 home runs and 711 RBI with a .271 average in 1,234 games...Minnesota went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and left six on base overall...The Angels finished 3-for-6 with RISP, while stranding four.
04/09 21:59:11 ET