Twins 6, Angels 5

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The throw was there. All Bengie Molina had to do was tag Dustan Mohr.

But with a shove of his shoulder, Mohr broke two bones above Molina’s left wrist and sent the ball rolling away as two runs scored. The Minnesota Twins escaped Wednesday with a critical 6-5 win over the Anaheim Angels.

Talk about bang-bang plays.

And Molina was charged with one tough error.

“We’ve seen how Bengie stays in there tough on those plays,” said closer Troy Percival, who allowed Stewart’s hit. “It just didn’t work out this time. He had the ball, and I think (Mohr) just got him at a really bad angle.”

Molina, who didn’t speak to reporters, needed help getting dressed in the clubhouse after the game.

Mohr said Molina had the plate covered.

“He’s a pretty big guy. I was trying to hit him hard enough for the ball to come out,” Mohr said. “It’s unfortunate that he was injured.”

Minnesota, the defending AL Central champion, moved into a tie with Chicago for the division lead, one game ahead of Kansas City. It’s the first time the Twins have held a share of the lead since after games of June 30, when they led by a half-game.

Percival (0-5), who hadn’t given up an earned run in his previous 37 innings against the Twins, walked Justin Morneau with two outs and Mohr pinch ran.

Stewart followed with a hard shot down the left-field line, his third hit of the game. Garrett Anderson’s throw home beat Mohr, but the collision knocked the ball loose. Stewart, who never stopped running, came around as the ball rolled down the first-base line.

“I was barely out of the way when Stewy came home,” Mohr said.

Molina, whose wrist snapped back on the play, was on the ground for several moments before teammates helped him to his feet. X-rays revealed a broken radius and ulna above his left wrist.

In the Angels clubhouse, players were more concerned about Molina than the outcome.

“If we were in the middle of the playoff hunt, it would mean a ton,” Percival said. “But with where we’re at right now, I’m just concerned about making sure he gets healthy and that we have him next year.”

The defending World Series champions are 67-72.

“We’re all concerned about Molina,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Dustan was just playing the game. He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. But it’s unfortunate that happened.”

Anaheim has been hit by injuries all season. Aaron Sele, Kevin Appier, Darin Erstad, Adam Kennedy and Percival are among the players who’ve been on the disabled list.

Eddie Guardado (2-5) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the win.

After wasting an early four-run lead, Anaheim went ahead 5-4 in the seventh on Juan Rincon’s wild pitch.

With the score 4-all and Jeff DaVanon on third, Rincon struck out Tim Salmon on what would have been the final out of the inning. But the low pitch hit the dirt and skipped past catcher A.J. Pierzynski, allowing DaVanon to score and Salmon to advance to first.

Ramon Ortiz, trying for his 16th win, took a 4-0 lead into the fourth before Matt LeCroy’s RBI grounder.

Minnesota tied it in the sixth on Luis Rivas’ RBI single, another run-scoring grounder by LeCroy and Jacque Jones’ RBI grounder off Francisco Rodriguez. The rookie reliever then struck out Torii Hunter to strand runners on second and third.

Anaheim regained the lead in the seventh after DaVanon’s one-out double off Carlos Pulido. J.C. Romero came in and struck out Garret Anderson, Rincon relieved and DaVanon advanced to third on a passed ball before scoring.

Grant Balfour, making his first major league start, gave up four runs, four hits and five walks in 2 2-3 innings, The rookie from Australia, who took Joe Mays’ spot in the rotation, walked three of his first four batters but escaped the first without allowing a run.

“He was a little high strung,” Gardenhire said. “He was a little too excited and couldn’t get the job done.”

Run-scoring singles by Chone Figgins in the second and Molina in the third put Anaheim ahead, and Shawn Wooten hit a two-run homer in the third, a drivejust over the glove of Stewart in left.


The Angels will play a doubleheader against the Royals on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. EDT to make up for last weekend’s rainout in Kansas City. … Balfour threw 66 pitches. … Gardenhire said RHP Rick Reed is scheduled to throw simulated games Friday and Sunday. Gardenhire said that if Reed’s back injury doesn’t flare up, the pitcher would be activated from the DL. … Jones hit a comebacker in the second that hit off the mound and popped up to Adam Kennedy. The second baseman barehanded the ball and quickly threw to first for the out…. Wooten, who has six homers, hit his first this year off a right-hander.

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