Angels-Twins Preview


If Albert Pujols can continue emerging from his slump, the Los Angeles Angels might have a good chance for their longest win streak of the season.

The Angels will seek that fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night against the major league-worst Minnesota Twins.

Pujols hit his first home run since signing a 10-year, $240 million deal with Los Angeles (13-17) on Sunday, and the end to his longest regular-season homerless drought of his career was also the star first baseman's sixth hit in 57 at-bats. He followed that two-RBI day by driving in two more runs during an 8-3 win in Monday's opener of a three-game series at Target Field.

Pujols pushed across the game's first run on a groundout then singled in another in the seventh inning. Alberto Callaspo also had a two-run homer and an RBI single.

Pujols and the Angels will try to get their search for a fourth straight win and their fifth in 14 road games off to a strong start against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond, who will make his season debut.

Diamond was recalled Monday to take the place of struggling Liam Hendriks in the rotation. He was 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA in seven major league outings in 2011 but tried to emulate Carl Pavano to get this year off to a better start.

Diamond was 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Rochester before being called up and had lasted six or more innings in each of his first five.

"(Pavano) goes deep into game so I tried to take the same mentality into every game this year," he told the team's website. "I've tried to keep it simple and not let the game speed up on me. So I've been able to throw strikes and attack hitters."

With Diamond's help, the Twins (7-21) will seek to avoid their 13th loss in 15 games and ninth in the past 10 home contests.

Dan Haren (1-2, 3.43 ERA), meanwhile, will attempt to add to Minnesota's woes while bouncing back from his first loss in nearly a month. The right-hander matched a season high with five runs allowed during a home loss to Toronto on Thursday, but gave up three of those on one swing. The other two scored on a Mark Trumbo error.

"Danny definitely pitched a game that would give us a chance to win if we were swinging to our capabilities," manager Mike Scioscia told the team's website.

Haren is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in his last three starts against the Twins but did not get a decision in a 10-9 loss in Minnesota on April 12. He gave up three runs over five innings during that game, struck out seven and walked one.

This time, Haren will face a team that's scored a combined eight runs with 20 hits over its first six games this month, including three against the Angels. He's 1-1 with a 6.50 ERA in three all-time outings at Target Field and has given up nine or more hits in each.