MINNEAPOLIS – Scott Baker pitched seven shutout innings, Michael Cuddyer had a bases-loaded double, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 Sunday night.
Danny Valencia homered for the Twins, who took two of three from Los Angeles.
Minnesota went 7-2 on its nine-game homestand to increase its lead in the AL Central to five games over struggling Chicago. The White Sox lost three extra-inning games on a 2-4 road trip, including Sunday in Kansas City.
Alberto Callaspo and Hideki Matsui each had two hits for Los Angeles, which has lost five of seven. The Angels are 7-19 in their last 26 road games, and have not won consecutive games away from Angel Stadium since June 18-19.
Valencia homered to open the fifth against Jered Weaver (11-9). Orlando Hudson tripled with two outs, and Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel walked to load the bases. Cuddyer fouled off five straight pitches with two strikes before hitting a ball to left-center that rolled to the wall. Cuddyer, now 3-for-18 lifetime against Weaver, was tagged out in a rundown trying to go to third.
That was plenty of support for Baker (11-9), who bounced back from a pair of poor performances where he left the ball up in the zone. He allowed eight earned runs in 10 2-3 innings in his previous two starts — both against Chicago.
In his seven innings, Baker allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one. He allowed a baserunner in six of those innings, but none got past second base. Of the last 12 batters Baker faced, none got hits and two walked.
Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless eighth and Matt Capps a perfect ninth for Minnesota.
Weaver, who struggled to quickly get hitters out throughout his six-inning, 107-pitch outing, allowed six hits, struck out three, but tied a season high with four walks. It was the second-straight rough outing for Weaver, who gave up six runs in five innings Tuesday in Boston.
He twice allowed the leadoff man to get on in the first three innings, but neither scored. Jim Thome led off the second with a double, but was later thrown out by Howie Kendrick trying to score on a ground out. Hudson walked to start the third, but was erased on a double play - one of seven straight Minnesota batters to hit the ball out of the infield
In his major league debut, Jordan Walden pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Los Angeles. Walden was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake Sunday when the Angels placed infielder Maicer Izturis on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
NOTES: Mauer walked three times. ... Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn, recalled Saturday when Kevin Slowey went on the disabled list with a strained right triceps, is scheduled to start Monday in Texas. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Francisco Liriano will get two extra days off between starts and will throw a light bullpen session Monday.