MINNEAPOLIS – Brian Duensing struck out six in eight innings and Jason Kubel hit a three-run homer to get the Minnesota Twins rolling in a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Duensing (7-1) allowed one run on seven hits to improve to 4-0 since moving into the starting rotation on July 23. His ERA dropped to 1.92 as the Twins bounced back from an 11-0 loss to the White Sox on Thursday night.
Dan Haren (1-4) got knocked around in his sixth start for the Angels. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings with three strikeouts.
Howie Kendrick had three hits for the Angels (61-62), who fell back below .500 and are 6-18 in their last 24 road games.
Duensing lost out to Francisco Liriano in the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation. Undaunted, he was one of the team's best relievers for the first 3½ months before being called upon to take the place of a struggling Nick Blackburn.
He's been superb since and was coming off a shutout in his previous start. He allowed two baserunners past first base all night
With J.J. Hardy on second and two outs in the third, Angels manager Mike Scioscia intentionally walked Mauer, who was 6 for 16 (.375) lifetime against Haren, to get to Kubel. The surging Kubel responded with a 429-foot homer into the second deck in right-center field that gave Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
The 40-year-old Jim Thome led off the three-run fourth with a triple and Delmon Young and Orlando Hudson had RBI singles in the inning.
The game marked Torii Hunter's first trip to Target Field. He spent 11 years playing for the Twins in the Metrodome before signing a $96 million contract with the Angels before the 2008 season.
Hunter raved about the Twins' new home before the game and said he got a little emotional while Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave him a tour of the place.
"This is better than Yankee Stadium!" he said.
Hunter went 1 for 4 and even saw that Target Field can still play like the old Dome on occasion. Angels left fielder Juan Rivera lost a pop fly from Danny Valencia in the twilight sky in the fourth inning, a common occurrence at the old place with the baseball-colored roof.
It fell in for a double and Valencia scored on a sacrifice fly from Hardy to make it 7-1.
With that, a disappointing season continued for the Angels, and Haren. The durable righty was acquired from the Diamondbacks on July 25, with the Angels hoping he could help them dig out of a seven-game hole in the AL West.
But Haren has received just 14 runs of support and the Angels started the day still seven games behind the Rangers in the division.
NOTES: Scioscia said IF Maicer Izturis was "a little sore" after making a diving play in the field on Thursday night and needed a day off. With the lefty Duensing on the mound, Brandon Wood got his first start at 1B this season. ... The Twins placed IF Nick Punto (hamstring) on the DL before the game and recalled IF Matt Tolbert from Triple-A Rochester.