Boone was hitless in his first 10 at-bats since being traded by Seattle and 0-for-18 overall. But he fisted a single to center in the fourth inning that lifted Minnesota to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
“You have to start somewhere,” said Boone, who also struck out three times. “When you come to a new team, you want to get off to a good start.”
The Twins acquired Boone from the Mariners in a trade during the All Star break. He has struggled mightily at the plate this season, so he fits right in with the offensively challenged Twins.
But he came through on Saturday, capping a five-run fourth inning against Angels starter Bartolo Colon (11-6) that erased a 4-0 deficit.
“He needs at-bats,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s still missing pitches we’ve seen him kill before. … I just want to see him keep swinging.”
Johan Santana (8-5) was a little shaky early, but rebounded to pitch seven innings for his first victory in six starts, which included three straight losses.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 29 chances.
“My swing feels a little funky right now, a little long,” said Boone, who didn’t have an at-bat for 12 games before being traded to Minnesota. “I feel like I can compete, but I don’t feel like myself right now.”
Things certainly didn’t look good early for Santana and the mistake-prone Twins.
Chone Figgins reached on an error by first baseman Justin Morneau to start the game, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored when a grounder from Vladimir Guerrero went right through the legs of third baseman Luis Rodriguez, the second error of the inning.
Garret Anderson, playing in his first game of the series after missing Thursday with a sore back and Friday to attend his grandmother’s funeral in California, followed with an RBI single and scored on a double from Orlando Cabrera for a 3-0 lead.
The Twins then had runners on second and third with nobody out in the second, but failed to score after Jacque Jones struck out, Morneau flied out weakly to third and Rodriguez grounded out with the bases loaded.
The Angels added another run in the fourth when Adam Kennedy doubled home Cabrera, who had three hits in his first game back from the disabled list.
“Usually when you give a pitcher of that caliber a four-run lead, you’re not going to win,” Boone said.
The Twins did all their damage against a tiring Colon in the fourth. They showed uncharacteristic discipline at the plate, running Colon’s pitch count into the 90s by fouling off pitch after pitch and running the count deep.
“When you make a horse like him work like that, there’s a chance he runs out of steam,” Gardenhire said. “And I think that’s what happened out there.”
Minnesota opened the inning with three straight hits, singles by Mauer and Torii Hunter and an RBI-double by Jones. Hunter scored on a sacrifice fly by Morneau to make the score 4-2 and Michael Ryan followed with his first homer of the year, a towering two-run shot to the upper deck in right field, that tied the score.
Rodriguez tripled to the gap in right-center and then scored on Boone’s hit to give the Twins the lead.
“It took a lot out of Bart,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Even though we were inside, it was still a little humid and it took a toll on him later in the game.”
Santana took over from there, retiring nine straight batters before giving way to Juan Rincon in the eighth. He gave up four runs—one earned—on five hits and struck out three.
Colon threw 114 pitches in five innings—only the second time in 19 starts that he hasn’t reached the sixth inning—giving up eight hits and the five runs while striking out five.
“It seemed like every pitch I was making was the game-winning or game-saving type of pitch,” Colon said through an interpreter. “It also happened to Johan the same way … but he rebounded better than I did. I was not able to get it done.”
Guerrero had two hits taken away from him by stellar defensive plays. In the third, SS Nick Punto dove to his left and threw him out from his knees. In the fifth, Jones crashed into the wall in right field to make a dazzling catch. … Angels 3B Zach Sorensen got his first at-bats of the season after being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on July 9. He went hitless in three plate appearances. … No respect: Boone’s name was spelled wrong on the scoreboard. His first name was spelled ‘Brett.’ … Ryan’s homer was his first since Sept. 27, 2003, and the Twins’ first in 173 plate appearances.