The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Trout's go-ahead HR helps Angels beat Twins 8-6 after Wilson coughs up 5-run lead
ANAHEIM, Calif. - C.J. Wilson isn't too particular about the way he gets his victories. He will take them any way he can get them — no matter how ugly they are.
Wilson surrendered five runs in the second inning after his teammates had scored five in the first, but Mike Trout regained the lead for the Los Angeles Angels in the bottom of the second with a two-run homer, and manager Mike Scioscia's much maligned bullpen hung on for an 8-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
"It was the best luck I had to get that run support and win despite giving up all those runs," Wilson said. "The bullpen had their backs up against the wall. I didn't really give them that much to work with. They had to throw four scoreless innings and they came through."
Wilson (8-6) barely navigated through five innings and left with the lead after allowing six runs and nine hits, including back-to-back home runs for the second time in his last three starts. The left-hander, who came in 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his previous six outings at Angel Stadium, blew a 5-0 lead in the second before Trout hit his 17th homer in the bottom half.
"It was an interesting approach that their team had today. They took a lot of pitches — first-pitch strikes down the middle — and then with two strikes they would fight the pitches off," Wilson said. "I don't know how many first-pitch strikes I threw. It felt like a ton. All the hits were deep in the count, so it was kind of a Twilight-Zone type of thing.
"After the two home runs, it was like paper cuts to death. Obviously, Willingham and Morales hit the ball really hard, but a lot of the other hits were in-between guys or under the coverage," Wilson added.
Trout's homer was Los Angeles' last hit until David Freese's one-out single in the sixth. The Twins got a run closer in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by former Angels slugger Kendrys Morales, but Joe Smith got three outs for his sixth save to help extend the Angels' four-game winning streak and snap a season-best four-game streak by the Twins.
Kyle Gibson (6-6) threw 50 pitches over two innings in his 25th career start, equaling his shortest outing in the big leagues. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs, four hits and two walks, after coming in with a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings.
"I just didn't really have a good feel out there from pitch one in the bullpen," Gibson said. "It felt like I was searching the whole time. It was just one of those weird nights. I didn't feel like I was repeating my delivery. It was pretty clear that I wasn't very sharp. I was leaving sliders over the middle, sinkers up — I mean, it was a confusing, frustrating night overall."
The right-hander found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam after 16 pitches and failed to retire any of his first six batters — although Albert Pujols reached on a fielder's choice when shortstop Danny Santana fielded his grounder deep in the hole and Trout beat the rookie's throw to second.
By the time the inning ended, Los Angeles had pushed across five runs. Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick both came up with the bases loaded and hit two-run singles. Erick Aybar, who was hit by a pitch, scored the fifth run on a double-play grounder by C.J. Cron.
But Minnesota needed only one inning to erase the deficit. Josh Willingham, who has eight homers in his last 15 games against the Angels, drove an 0-2 pitch to centre field that barely eluded Trout's glove — which was about 3 feet above the fence.
Morales followed with first homer in a Twins uniform, sending a 3-2 pitch into the lower seats in the left field corner. No. 9 hitter Sam Fuld kept the rally alive with a two-out RBI single, Santana drove in another run with a double and Brian Dozier tied it with an RBI single.
NOTES: Angels hitting coach Don Baylor was in the dugout during a game for the first time since breaking his right leg while catching a ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on opening night. ... Gibson lasted just two innings on May 10 at Detroit, allowing six runs in a 9-3 loss. ... Joe Mauer, who won three AL batting titles as a catcher and the MVP award in 2009, is hitting .260 in his first season as a full-time first baseman. Only two of his 22 RBIs have come on the road. ... Mauer and C Kurt Suzuki each entered the game 2 for 22 against Wilson. Mauer was 1 for 3 this time against the two-time All-Star and Suzuki was 0 for 3. ... LHP Tyler Skaggs, who hasn't pitched for the Angels since June 5 because of a right hamstring strain, is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday in Fresno.
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