Angels turn to Pineiro in finale with Twins

An offensive power surge helped the Angels survive a poor outing from the ace and make up some ground in the American League West. Los Angeles now hopes that Joel Pineiro can give it a shot at a series victory this afternoon in the final contest of three straight games versus the Minnesota Twins.

Jered Weaver started last night's game for the Angels, but was tagged for six runs over just five innings. However, Los Angeles connected on three homers to take him off the hook as Weaver still earned his career high-tying 16th win of the season.

Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam, Vernon Wells added a go-ahead solo homer in the fifth and Peter Bourjos also went deep for the Angels, who had lost five of eight but moved to within 3 1/2 of the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

"I wasn't sharp," said Weaver. "The Twins hit some of my mistakes but our guys picked me up."

Los Angeles goes for the series victory behind the inconsistent Joel Pineiro, who hasn't won since July 9 and has dropped his past three decisions.

The right-hander, though, did not factor into the decision for a fifth straight appearance on Monday versus the Mariners, giving up three runs over six innings of his club's eventual 5-3 loss. Manager Mike Scioscia was pleased that the 32-year-old, who is 5-6 with a 5.33 earned run average on the season, kept his team in the game.

"We need depth in that rotation and Pineiro gave us a chance to win tonight," he said. "We just couldn't follow through on it."

Pineiro is just 2-8 lifetime versus the Twins with a 5.33 ERA and turned in a forgettable performance the last time he faced them on Aug. 3. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs, serving up a pair of homers to Delmon Young, who is now with Detroit. Three of the seven runs charged to Pineiro came after he left when Hisanori Takahashi yielded a grand slam to Michael Cuddyer.

The Twins counter with Kevin Slowey, who has dropped all three games since being inserted into the rotation on Aug. 19. He has given up 13 runs in that span, but did pitch well enough to win on Monday at the White Sox as he allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings of a 3-0 defeat.

Minnesota has been outscored 17-2 in right-hander's three starts.

"Slowey was good," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "He was working fast, he got us off the field."

Slowey made six relief outings earlier this year without a decision and has a 5.91 ERA on the season. The 27-year-old is 3-2 lifetime versus the Angels with a 4.80 ERA.

Minnesota may need some innings out of him today after Saturday's starter, Brian Duensing, left in the second inning because of a right oblique strain. Phil Dumatrait took the loss after allowing four runs -- two earned -- in 1 1/3 frames of relief.

"I felt a little sore warming up in the bullpen before the game," said Duensing. "I've never done oblique before, hopefully I can avoid the [disabled list]. Right now we'll try to go day-to-day."

Trevor Plouffe had four RBI for the Twins, who saw their brief two-game win streak come to an end.

The Angels have won five of eight over the Twins this year.