Angels 5, Twins 0
Ramon Ortiz combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, and Tim Salmon and Scott Spiezio each hit two-run homers as the defending World Series champs beat the Twins 5-0 Friday night in their first meeting since the AL championship series.
Despite a sellout crowd of 43,442, the scene at Edison Field was quite different from the frenzied atmosphere last Oct. 13 when the Angels clinched their first AL pennant with a 13-5 victory—using Adam Kennedy’s three home runs and a 10-run seventh inning to eliminate the Twins before going on to win the World Series.
“I’d love to sit here and say we’re coming back here for revenge—but in order to get revenge, you’ve got to be playing well. And obviously, we’re not doing that,” said center fielder Denny Hocking, who sat out the ALCS with an injured finger.
Both teams have fallen on hard times this year because of injuries. The Twins (44-47) are 5 1/2 games behind Kansas City in the Central Division with a six-game losing streak, after winning 94 games in 2002. The Angels, who won a franchise-record 99 games last season, are 9 1-2 games out in the West Division with a 47-43 record—despite winning 10 of their last 14.
“We have the same team as last year—and the way we’ve been playing lately, I can see us putting together a good run. It isn’t far-fetched at all,” Spiezio said. “We’ve had to battle injuries, but this team still feels we have a great chance to make the playoffs.”
Ortiz (11-6) allowed three hits and four walks over six innings, striking out five and stranding eight baserunners. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Hocking.
“We had chances, but we just missed every opportunity to score runs,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just can’t seem to get a big hit right now.”
Brendan Donnelly, who was called in to protect a two-run lead, retired the last six batters in order for his second save in as many attempts.
Anaheim opened the scoring in the fourth with a tainted run after Garret Anderson singled with two out and advanced on a balk by Johan Santana (4-2). Second baseman Luis Rivas lost sight of Troy Glaus’ towering popup in the twilight and it fell in short right-center for an RBI double, just beyond the reach of right fielder Bobby Kielty.
The Angels increased the margin to 3-0 in the sixth after Darin Erstad led off with a double and advanced on a groundout. Salmon got the green light from manager Mike Scioscia on Santana’s 3-0 pitch and drove it into the left field bullpen for his 14th homer.
“I definitely thought he’d get the green light because he’s a power hitter,” Santana said. “When you get behind in the count, the hitter gets more comfortable. I tried to go inside on him because I was throwing inside to him the whole night, but I just missed over the middle of the plate.”
Spiezio drove in the final two runs in the eighth with his ninth homer, against J.C. Romero.
Santana, who surrendered Kennedy’s third home run in the ALCS clincher, started in place of Joe Mays—who served up Kennedy’s first two homers. Mays was demoted to the bullpen this week with a 6.57 ERA after last Saturday’s 13-2 loss to Cleveland.
Santana allowed three runs, five hits and no walks over six innings in his fourth start of the season. The left-hander was 3-0 with 1.00 ERA in his otherthree.
Gardenhire has decided not to appeal the one-game suspension he received from major league baseball, and will sit out Saturday’s game. Gardenhire was ejected from the Twins’ 4-1 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome on July 3 by plate umpire Eric Cooper after Kenny Rogers hit Cleveland’s Milton Bradley with a pitch. It was in retaliation for the two pitches Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia plunked Corey Koskie and Bobby Kielty with. … Rogers also has decided not to appeal the five-game suspension he got for his actions, and will begin serving a five-game suspension on Saturday. Rogers has a chipped bone in the fourth toe on his right foot, and wasn’t scheduled to pitch again untilJuly 20, at the earliest.