In Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins at chilly and overcast Target Field, the Los Angeles Angels came away with only six singles against starter Scott Baker through the first seven innings. Holding a comfortable 5-0 lead, Baker appeared to be on the way to his third victory of the season.
However, this year’s bullpen for the Twins has not exactly been the pillar of power that has been a staple in Minnesota in recent seasons. Within one inning, Baker had his sixth no-decision, and it was the fourth time the bullpen had given away a lead handed to them by Baker.
In the top of the eighth, reliever Alex Burnett gave up an infield single to Peter Bourjos that took a bad hop of Twins’ first baseman Justin Morneau. After walking Maicer Izturis, Burnett was done, giving way to Dusty Hughes. Erick Aybar took Hughes’ first pitch and launched it into the bleachers in left-center field, cutting the Twins’ lead to two.
Bobby Abreu then followed with a single to center field, and manager Ron Gardenhire lifted Hughes for Jim Hoey. Hoey promptly gave up a double to Torii Hunter, putting runners at second and third, still with nobody out. Alberto Callaspo then singled to drive in Abreu, and designated hitter Russell Branyan followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Hunter with the tying run.
So much for a comfortable win.
The Angels weren’t done, however. In the ninth, after running down Denard Span’s potential gapper in left-center to preserve the tie, Bourjos led off the ninth with a gapper of his own to left-center, tearing around the bases to easily reach third for a triple.
Not many players in baseball have the speed to leg out a triple on a ball hit to left-center, but Bourjos made it look easy. Izturis then followed with a sharp single to right field to score Bourjos with the go-ahead run.
So, while it took a while for the Angels bats to wake up, they did indeed wake up, and for the Twins, they will continue to tinker with a bullpen that has continually been a thorn in their side.