Weaver handcuffs Twins to help Angels complete 3-game sweep
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Minnesota Twins came into Angel Stadium struggling badly at the plate, so the last thing they needed was to face Los Angeles’ three best pitchers on consecutive days.
Jered Weaver worked effectively into the eighth inning after equally impressive victories by Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey, and the AL West leaders got home runs from Chone Figgins and Jeff Mathis to beat the Twins 6-2 on Sunday.
“We know those guys are good pitchers,” Minnesota’s Torii Hunter said. “Those three are big names right now. But at the same time, anybody can be beat. It doesn’t matter who it is. I mean, we’ve beat better pitchers than those guys. But those guys kept their team in the game and we couldn’t get many runs off them. It’s tough to swallow.”
The Angels became the fifth team this year to limit Minnesota to six runs or less in a three-game series, along with the Red Sox, Athletics, Tigers and Blue Jays. The Twins have scored no more than three runs in 10 of their last 11 games.
“It’s not Disneyland in here right now. Guys are disappointed and frustrated,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team was 13-6 against the AL West before this series.
“We were facing very good pitching, and they were going against a team that has not been putting enough quality at-bats together to match up with that kind of pitching staff right now. They’ve been getting seven, eight innings out of their starters, and we scored six runs in the series. You don’t win very many series when you score six runs total.”
Weaver (8-5) gave up two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking none. On June 4, the right-hander held the Twins to a run and five hits over seven innings in a 16-3 rout at Angel Stadium.
“The middle of their lineup has a lot of power and you know they’re going to come out and swing. So you’ve got to make some pitches and get ahead early, and I was able to do that,” Weaver said. “I just tried to work on getting outs on the first couple of pitches, which I’ve kind of gotten away from so far in my big league career.”
Weaver’s brother, Jeff, beat the White Sox 6-0 Sunday with a five-hitter for the Seattle Mariners—marking the first time both of them won a game in the majors on the same day.
Jered Weaver was lifted after giving up a one-out single to Alexi Casilla, who scored on Jason Bartlett’s double against Justin Speier. But Mathis got the run back in the bottom half, greeting former Angels right-hander Ramon Ortiz with his third big league homer and first since July 1, 2006.
Boof Bonser (5-9) gave up five runs, nine hits and four walks over 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-7 with a 5.37 ERA in his last 11 starts since beating the Washington Nationals 6-3 on June 10, and is the first Minnesota pitcher to go winless in 11 consecutive starts since LaTroy Hawkins in 1998.
Bonser won his last four starts in April before the Angels snapped that streak on June 6 and got 12 hits off him—still the most allowed by a Twins starter this season.
“I’m not a `me’ guy. I’m just worried about us going out and winning ballgames,” Bonser said. “It’s just frustrating that we’re not winning.”
Casey Kotchman opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second, and the Angels added two more in the fifth. Orlando Cabrera hit an RBI double and Figgins scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Garret Anderson with the bases loaded. Cabrera was 3-for-5, increasing his career average against Minnesota to .378.
Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer was shaded far over to right-center against Figgins in the sixth inning and had no chance to make a play when the switch-hitter pulled Bonser’s 3-2 delivery just over the short fence adjacent to the foul pole. Figgins’ second homer of the season came on the ninth pitch of that at-bat, following a two-out walk to Reggie Willits.
“I thought I struck (Figgins) out before that on a fastball in, but I didn’t get the call on the checked swing. So I had to throw more pitches to him,” Bonser said. “Sometimes when something like that happens, unfortunately, the next thing you know you give up a home run. I guess after seeing so many pitches in a row, he was able to time it. But I was battling.”
Figgins is hitting .407 since June 1, the highest average by any major leaguer during that span. His other home run came on May 25 at Yankee Stadium against Luis Vizcaino.
Maicer Izturis, who hit his third homer in 11 at-bats Saturday night while filing in at 2B for injured Howie Kendrick, started as a DH for the second time in his career and was 0-for-2 with two walks. … The Angels have gotten nine home runs from the 2B position this season, while the Twins have none. … CF Gary Matthews Jr., who was the Angels’ DH in the previous two games because of a sore left knee, got the day off. … Twins 1B and reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau has gone 13 games without an RBI and 64 at-bats since his last home run on July 23, when he hit two.