Minnesota (28-28) at Los Angeles (37-22)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Anaheim, CA, US
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Tue Jun 5, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Following their biggest offensive outburst of the season, the surging Los Angeles Angels look to win their fifth straight game as they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.

The Angels (37-22) are off to the best start in franchise history, thanks to an outstanding 23-8 record at home. They are a major league-best 20-6 since May 9, and are 15 games over .500 for the first time this season.

In Monday’s series opener, Los Angeles pounded out a major league season-high 23 hits in its most lopsided win of the season—a 16-3 rout.

Gary Matthews Jr. went 4-for-5 with his third career grand slam, while Orlando Cabrera also had four hits in five at-bats with four runs and two RBIs.

Vladimir Guerrero added three hits, and Casey Kotchman, Mike Napoli and Garret Anderson all homered for the Angels, who hit a season-high four home runs.

“It’s definitely a lot easier when everybody’s hitting,” Matthews said. “They always say hitting is contagious, but it really seems like it is. It builds confidence for the rest of the guys in the lineup and makes guys take it to another level.”

Matthews is 15-for-38 (.395) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 10 games against Minnesota since the start of last season, and Cabrera is batting .520 (13-for-25) in his last six overall.

Kelvim Escobar (6-3, 3.00 ERA) tries to rebound from his worst home start of the season on Tuesday.

Escobar’s streak of 21 straight scoreless innings at Angel Stadium was snapped in the first inning of his last start, and it didn’t just end there. In all, he gave up five runs, nine hits and four walks in eight innings of a 6-2 loss to Baltimore on Thursday for his first home defeat since April 8. The right-hander is still 4-2 with a 2.39 ERA in seven starts at Angel Stadium.

In his only start against the Twins last year, Escobar allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-2 victory at the Metrodome on April 18. He is 4-6 with one save and a 5.59 lifetime ERA in 15 games—eight starts— against Minnesota.

The Twins (28-28) have lost three straight following a stretch of winning eight of nine. They have scored just six runs during their skid, and have not lost four in a row since May 9-12.

Reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau was named AL player of the month for May after hitting .380 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs, but is just 2-for-15 (.133) in four games this month. Morneau is 3-for-9 with a homer lifetime against Escobar.

Scott Baker (1-0, 5.94) looks to bounce back from a rough outing when he makes his fourth start of the season.

Baker gave up season highs of six runs and 10 hits in three innings, but the Twins rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Wednesday.

“You have to pick each other up, and today we picked Baker up,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official Web site. “In his next start, he’s going to have to pick us back up, we hope.”

Baker struggled in his two starts against the Angels last season, allowing 10 runs in 9 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA in three career starts against them.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Baker LAD vs. K. Escobar MIL
9-9 Record 18-7
4.26 ERA 3.40
102 K 160
29 BB 66
1.33 WHIP 1.27


Tuesday, Jun 5