Twins-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels' struggles at the plate continue. Left-hander C.J. Wilson doesn't need the reminder.

Wilson will try to avoid losing a career high-tying three consecutive starts Monday night when the host Angels begin their second series against the Minnesota Twins this season.

Los Angeles (7-15) begins a seven-game homestand after hitting .165 and scoring nine total runs on a 1-5 trip that ended with Sunday's 4-0 loss to Cleveland.

Angels slugger Albert Pujols went 3 for 23 on the trip and is still without a homer, while Mike Trout is 0 for 7 since the team called him up Friday to help deliver some punch from the top of the order.

"I think today we hit the ball a lot better than it looks in that line score," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official website after his team finished with a season-low three hits - all singles.

Los Angeles has dropped six of seven, failing to score more than three runs in any of those games.

The Angels scored twice in each of Wilson's last two starts after totaling 12 to help the left-hander win his first two outing with the club.

"You can't cry about what you don't have," Wilson told the Angels' official website after striking out a season-high 11 and throwing seven innings of two-run ball in Wednesday's 3-2 loss at Tampa Bay. "You have to be realistic, and right now, in all facets of the game, there's something we can improve on as a team."

Wilson (2-2, 2.42 ERA) hasn't lost three straight starts since July 31-Aug. 18, 2005. He'll get a second look at the Twins (6-15) this season after throwing seven strong innings in his Angels debut, a 5-1 victory April 9 in the Twins' home opener.

Minnesota begin its six-game trip after Sunday's 7-4 victory over Kansas City ended a season-high six-game skid.

The Twins will try to match a season high by winning two straight - they defeated the Angels on April 11 and 12 - with Nick Blackburn (0-2, 7.53) on the hill. The right-hander makes his first road start of 2012 after lasting a season-low three innings in Tuesday's 11-2 loss to Boston.

Blackburn was pitching for the first time in 10 days after leaving his previous start with a cramp in the back of his right shoulder.

"I felt fine out there," he told the Twins' official website. "... I'm not looking to change anything right now. Just keep working."

Blackburn, who allowed five runs in the April 9 loss, is 0-6 with a 5.85 ERA in 11 starts since his last victory July 8 against the Chicago White Sox.

Josh Willingham could help him get back into the win column. The Twins left fielder, who finished a homer shy of the cycle Sunday, is batting .353 and has team highs with five home runs and 15 RBIs.

Willingham will try to homer in his fifth consecutive game against Angels pitching after going deep in each of the three games earlier this month, including one off Wilson.

Willingham is 8 for 21 with three doubles and two homers against the left-hander.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer is 2 for 22 (.091) against Wilson, but he's batting .366 (26 for 71) during an 18-game hitting streak in Anaheim.

Pujols was 2 for 13 in the series in Minneapolis earlier this month. He is hitless in three at-bats versus Blackburn.

The Angels have won four of six at home against Minnesota.