Anaheim, CA – Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer and drove in three, C.J. Wilson pitched into the eighth inning and the Angels defeated the Twins, 4-3, on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.
Kendrys Morales went 2-for-3 with a run scored while Albert Pujols doubled and also crossed the plate for the Angels, who had dropped six of their last seven games coming in.
Wilson (3-2) was charged with three runs - all in the eighth inning -- on five hits and a walk and Scott Downs recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.
Alexi Casilla went 3-for-4 with an RBI double for Minnesota, which fell to 6-16. Nick Blackburn (0-3) allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings to suffer the loss.
Hunter followed Pujols' double with a two-out RBI single in the first and struck again in the fourth, belting a homer to left-center after Morales began the frame with a single.
"I've been having good at bats," said Hunter. "I'm hoping it will be contagious."
Chris Iannetta added a solo shot in the seventh for a 4-0 lead before Wilson ran into trouble in the eighth. He hit Chris Parmelee to start the inning and Casilla followed with a run-scoring double to left.
Denard Span's subsequent single plated Casilla and Wilson was relieved after inducing Jamey Carroll into a fielder's choice groundout. Josh Willingham greeted LaTroy Hawkins with a base hit and Sean Burroughs' fielder's choice groundout placed runners at the corners. Danny Valencia's line drive single past shortstop Erick Aybar made it 4-3, but Downs retired Ryan Doumit to preserve the lead, then grounded out Span after Casilla's two-out single in the ninth.
"We were in the ball game until the end," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We just couldn't get that one run to tie it."
Hunter is now three runs shy of 1,000 for his career...Pujols is one run shy of 1,300 for his career...Blackburn hasn't won since July 8, 2011 versus Chicago (AL). He is 0-7 in 12 starts since that victory, which marks the longest winless stretch of his career.