TCD Series Recap: Twins at Angels

Morneau is batting .471 through four games.

The Minnesota Twins got off to a fast start to the 2010 season this week, taking three of four games from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. After a sub-par effort from starter Scott Baker in game one, the Twins got great starting pitching from Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano, and Kevin Slowey, and have taken first place in the AL Central going into the season's first weekend.

Game 1: Angels 6, Twins 3
The afore mentioned Baker lasted only 4.2 innings in his first start of the season, and struggled with his command early and often. The Angels got off to a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Twins tied the game in the top of the second, thanks to a two-run home run by Delmon Young. However, the Angels struck back in the bottom of the frame on the strength of a Jeff Mathis home run, and really never looked back from there. Young finished with two hits in two at-bats, stole a base, and scored twice. Orlando Hudson picked up his first hit as a Twin, doubling, and was also hit by a pitch.

Game 2: Twins 5, Angels 3
The Twins erupted for three runs in the first inning, giving starter Blackburn all the help he would need, as the right-hander worked 6.2 strong innings. Brian Duensing, Matt Guerrier, and Jon Rauch would combine to pitch scoreless relief of Blackburn, with Rauch picking up his first save as a member of the Twins. Rauch looked very strong, striking out two in his inning of relief. There were plenty of offensive stars in the game, led by Michael Cuddyer, who picked up three hits in the contest. Justin Morneau had two knocks in the game, including his first home run of the season, and Joe Mauer had a two-run dinger in the first inning. J.J. Hardy blasted his first home run as a member of the Twins, and Young picked up his third RBI of the season.

Game 3: Twins 4, Angels 2
Carl Pavano took the bump in game three, and did not disappoint. The veteran right-hander tossed seven innings of one-run ball, striking out six, in what could be his best effort as a Twin. Guerrier picked up his second hold in as many days, working an inning of one-hit ball, and Rauch picked up his second save. Rauch did make it interesting; allowing an earned run on two hits, but was able to nail down the victory. Morneau and Hardy blasted home runs for the second consecutive game, with Morneau's being a two-run dinger, and Hardy's a solo shot. Nick Punto had his first triple of the season, while also swiping a bag, and Cuddyer had his first stolen base of the season.

Game 4: Twins 10, Angels 1
After falling behind 1-0 early in the game, the Twins bats came to life, allowing starter Kevin Slowey to settle in, notching his first victory of the season. Slowey finished his night tossing 5.1 innings of one-run ball, striking out three. Jose Mijares shook off a rough outing in the series opener, striking out two in his one inning of work. Jesse Crain struck out the side in his inning of relief, and Alex Burnett looked good in his Major League debut, picking up a strikeout in his perfect inning of work. The bullpen worked a combined 3.2 innings of shutout ball. The Twins kept Jim Thome in the lineup on Thursday, and the veteran slugger responded by blasting a three-run home run, the 565th of his career. Thome went 2-4, scored twice, and also walked. Light-hitting Brendan Harris smacked his first home run of the season, as he made his first start at third base, replacing Punto. Delmon Young hit a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, icing the Twins series victory. Young now has six runs batted in on the early season.

Series Notes

  • Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Brian Duensing, and Alex Burnett combined for eight appearances without allowing an earned run. In total, the five relievers worked 7.2 innings combined, allowing three hits.
  • Alex Burnett's appearance in game four was his Major League debut, as he pitched a perfect frame. The 22-year old right-hander is a native of Anaheim, and the home cooking did him good. He is likely headed for Rochester when Clay Condrey is reinstated from the disabled list.
  • Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Michael Cuddyer are all hitting over .400 in the early going, with Morneau batting a robust .471, and Cuddyer and Mauer each batting .412.
  • The series win against the Angels was the Twins first in Anaheim since 2002.
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