This year, they are damaging Minnesota’s chances of reaching the postseason.
The defending world champions will shoot for their sixth win in eight meetings with the team they knocked off in last year’s AL championship series when they resume a three-game series at the Metrodome.
Anaheim reached its first World Series by beating Minnesota in five games. While the Angels have struggled just to remain near the .500 mark this season, they have had little trouble continuing their mastery of the Twins.
The loss dropped the Twins two games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, and marked the first time in 10 series they lost an opening game.
It was Anaheim’s first appearance at the Metrodome since it won Game 2 of the ALCS. The Angels won the next three games in Anaheim before beating the San Francisco Giants in seven games in the World Series.
The Twins had lost seven in a row to the Angels dating to Game 1 of the ALCS before taking two of three last week in Anaheim.
Kyle Lohse will try to get Minnesota back on track as he bids for his sixth win in seven starts. The right-hander held Anaheim to just one run and five hits over 6 2-3 strong innings in Thursday’s 6-1 triumph at Edison Field.
Prior to his recent run of success, Lohse had gone 0-5 in eight starts.
“Last month he was just throwing the ball and he got into a rut where, every time he got himself into a little trouble, he’d just rear back and let it fly—rather than pitching,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Lohse.
“He made some adjustments on the pitching rubber and worked on his mechanics. But more than anything, he got his confidence back and saw that he could throw the ball in and out and not have to blow people away all the time.”
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 15 GB, AL West. Twins - 2nd place (tied), 2 GB, AL Central.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Sele (7-9, 5.24 ERA). Sele has won four straight starts, including Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over the Twins. The veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs and four hits over 5 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking one. Sele has dominated the Twins like no other opponent during his career, going 15-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Lohse (11-10, 4.85 ERA). Lohse is 2-2 with a 5.73 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .322 avg., 29 HRs and 113 RBIs; Tim Salmon and Anderson, 71 runs; Adam Kennedy, 18 SBs. Twins - Jacque Jones, .307 avg.; Torii Hunter, 23 HRs and 86 RBIs; Shannon Stewart, 77 runs; Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman, 14 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Angels, 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - SS Wilson Delgado was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake prior to Tuesday’s game. … OF Anderson is 7-for-11 (.636) with a homer and three RBIs against RHP Lohse. … RHP Sele is 4-5 with a 4.85 ERA in 11 road starts this year. Twins - CF Hunter was ejected by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi Monday after arguing a called third strike in the second inning. Hunter yelled at Cuzzi on his way back to the dugout, then charged after him before being restrained by Twins coaches Jerry White and Steve Liddle. … The Twins added bullpen depth by acquiring LHP Jesse Orosco from the New York Yankees for a player to be named. They also recalled RHP Adam Johnson from Triple-A Rochester. Both players are eligible for the postseason. … The Twins have allowed 21 runs and eight homers in their last two games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 29-39 on the road; Twins - 35-33 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - SS David Eckstein (hamstring), 15-day DL; 1B-DH Brad Fullmer (knee), 60-day DL; 3B Troy Glaus (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Darin Erstad (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Twins - OF Lew Ford (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Rick Reed (back), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (elbow), 60-day DL.