Angels-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels introduced new slugger Albert Pujols to the home crowd in their season-opening series that didn't conclude how they would've liked.

They're hoping their other high-priced free-agent signing can get their road trip off to a solid start.

C.J. Wilson takes the mound for his Angels debut when Los Angeles opens a six-game trip Monday against the Minnesota Twins, who are off to their worst start in 31 years.

Roaring cheers greeted Pujols and the Angels in their 5-0 season-opening win over Kansas City on Friday, but they dropped the final two games of the series, falling 7-3 Sunday.

Pujols went 2 for 3 and had an RBI groundout in the first inning, finishing the series 3 for 10 with two doubles. Vernon Wells homered Sunday, while Howie Kendrick added three hits.

Kendrick said the Angels (1-2) have no reason to be concerned.

''We've got a great team here, and if we're going to get down about losing two in a row, then why are we even here?'' Kendrick said. "It's just a matter of putting it together and getting those key hits.''

Los Angeles will play three games in Minnesota before facing the New York Yankees to finish the trip.

''It's not a concern. The talent is there,'' said Mark Trumbo, who had two hits. ''I mean, who's to say we can't go on a real nice run on this road trip?"

The Angels hope Wilson can help get them started off right.

The left-hander, fresh off back-to-back World Series appearances with Texas, signed a five-year, $77.5 million contact with Los Angeles during the offseason after finishing 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in 2011.

Wilson, though, went 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in the postseason for the Rangers, and he'll look to put that behind him against a Twins team he hasn't fared all that well against. He's 2-2 with a 6.67 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota, allowing at least five runs in three of those outings.

"One of the biggest things is my mechanics and making sure I stay consistent," Wilson told the team's official website. "I made some adjustments in spring training. The key is to focus on every time you throw that ball and be consistent."

The Twins scored five runs in their first three games combined, dropping to 0-3 for the first time since losing their first four in 1981 following a 3-1 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

Minnesota didn't have a hit until Justin Morneau doubled to lead off the eighth inning, finally breaking through on Josh Willingham's RBI double. It didn't score a run until the eighth in any contest, and manager Ron Gardenhire said he hopes heading back to Minnesota will help his club regroup.

"It's nice to get home," Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, you'd have liked to win a game or two here. You'd come home with a little bit better atmosphere in our clubhouse. Going home always should make you feel a little bit better, getting in front of our fans. So we'll see."

Right-hander Nick Blackburn will make his first start of the season after going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA in 2011. He finished 0-4 with a 5.21 ERA over his last eight starts before being shut down Aug. 22 with a strained right forearm.

He's 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts versus the Angels, beating them 5-3 on April 6, 2010, in his most recent outing against Los Angeles.

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