Angels-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels are beginning to turn around their rough start to 2013, thanks in part to Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout.

A three-game series with the Minnesota Twins may keep them surging.

Trout and Hamilton look to continue their success against the sputtering Twins, as they try to help the Angels to their first winning streak of the season Monday night at frigid Target Field.

Los Angeles (4-8) lost eight of its first 10, as it struggled to live up to its $148.5 million payroll.

Hamilton hit .179 with no homers and four RBIs in that stretch after signing a five-year, $125 million free-agent contract from AL West rival Texas.

Trout, the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year, wasn't doing much better with a .227 average, four runs and one RBI.

All of that appears to be changing after Los Angeles won 4-1 over Houston on Sunday following Saturday's 5-4 victory on Albert Pujols' two-run walkoff double that scored Trout.

"It's big to get that first series win. We just want to take that momentum into Minnesota," said Trout, who went 4 for 8 with a double, a homer and four runs over the last two games.

Hamilton is also shaking out of his funk. He's 4 for 8 with a triple, two homers and four RBIs in two games after a base-running gaffe caused him to get doubled-up for the final out of Friday's 5-0 loss to the Astros.

Facing the Twins (4-7) could be just what Hamilton and Trout need.

Hamilton is hitting .368 with 16 RBIs in his last 14 meetings with them, while Trout is 9 for 23 with four doubles in seven games, including four hits - two doubles - while driving in two runs in two visits to Minneapolis.

Production at the plate may be key as Joe Blanton (0-2, 9.00 ERA) gets a third chance at his first win with the Angels. The right-hander struggled greatly Wednesday, surrendering six runs and 10 hits in five innings of an 11-5 loss to Oakland.

Blanton has won his last two games against Minnesota behind a 2.40 ERA, and that includes a seven-hitter in a 6-1 win with Philadelphia at Target Field on June 14.

This visit is expected to be much more challenging with the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-30s with snow possible later in the evening.

Rain and snow kept the Twins from concluding their three-game series with the New York Mets on Sunday after they dropped the first two contests, dealing with frigid temperatures.

The weather also pushed Kevin Correia's scheduled start back a day. His only appearance against Los Angeles came in relief on June 12, 2006, when got the only batter he faced to fly out to center.

The right-hander (0-1, 3.14) has been backed by one run in each of his first two starts. He had a 1-0 lead going into the eighth inning Monday at Kansas City, but got just one more out and was charged with all three Royals runs in a 3-1 loss.

That defeat started this five-game skid, during which Minnesota has been outscored 33-12 while batting .200. The club hasn't dropped six straight since April 21-27.

Joe Mauer has a .345 average with six runs during a seven-game hitting streak after getting three hits - two doubles - over the last two games.

Justin Morneau is hitting .343 while driving in eight runs in the past eight home meetings with the Angels.

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