Thomas' grab preserves Twins' win over Angels

Joe Haakenson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It was a catch that even Mike Trout had to admire.
Samuel Deduno gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings Monday, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. However, the play of the game took place just above the left field fence in the eighth inning, after Deduno had finished his day's work.
Clete Thomas robbed the Angels' Chris Iannetta of a potential three-run homer, allowing Deduno (6-4) to get the victory and helping the Twins earn their fifth victory in six games.
The loss dropped the Angels 11 games behind the Oakland A's in the American League West, and 9 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second AL wild-card spot.
The Twins had 12 hits in the game, including three by Joe Mauer and two each from Thomas and Aaron Hicks. Thomas drove in two runs with a solo home run and RBI double, but the play he made with his glove was the difference.
The Angels made things interesting in the eighth inning when they scored one run on Collin Cowgill's pinch RBI single that cut the Twins' advantage to 4-3. With two on and two outs, Iannetta hit a drive to deep left field, but Thomas made the homer-saving -- and game-saving -- catch, leaping well above the eight-foot fence to snare the baseball.
"Robbing him," Thomas said when asked which made him feel better, hitting a home run or robbing an opposing hitter of one. "Instead of being down by two in the ninth, we're up by one. That's saving runs, that's the best feeling ever. ... I thought I had a chance as long as I didn't run out of room."
In the ninth, the Angels threatened again. Singles by J.B. Shuck and Trout put the potential tying and winning runs on base, but Twins closer Glen Perkins struck out both Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick to earn his 24th save of the season.
Angels starter Joe Blanton (2-13) lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and two walks in losing his third consecutive start. He leads the league in losses, and he's on pace for 21 defeats for the season. There has been only one 20-loss pitcher (Detroit's Mike Maroth in 2003) in the last 33 years.
Blanton may not get the chance to lose 20, though.
"We're going to sit back and look at some things, but we don't have to make that decision now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said regarding Blanton's job security in the rotation. "You're always looking to improve what your team is and where your rotation is. It's a tough outing for Joe, and we'll assess things as we start to get some guys back (from the disabled list, like Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas), and see where we are."
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Kendrick's sacrifice fly, but the Twins moved on top in the second inning with a little help from Kendrick.
Kendrick bobbled the ball while making the pivot at second base on a potential double-play grounder. The Twins took advantage with two-out, RBI doubles by Thomas and Hicks to go up 2-1.
Trout's RBI single in the third inning scored Erick Aybar and tied the game at 2, but the Twins again responded in their next at-bat.
Thomas hit a solo homer, and Doug Bernier added an RBI double to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.
NOTES: Angels RF Josh Hamilton was scratched from the lineup because of a sore right ankle, and he's listed as day-to-day. He went 2-for-11 with a double and two RBIs in the series vs. Oakland over the weekend. ... Angels LHP Jason Vargas, who underwent surgery to remove a blood clot near his left armpit last month, will see a doctor Tuesday hoping to be cleared to begin throwing off the mound. If he's cleared, he'd still need two weeks to regain arm strength and stamina before pitching again in the majors. ... Trout singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games. ... Bernier started at shortstop, his first start in the majors since June 19, 2008, when he played for the Colorado Rockies. He appeared in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Indians as a defensive replacement. ... Perkins has not allowed a run in his last 19 appearances (19 1/3 innings), going back to May 29, the longest active streak in the majors. During that stretch, opposing batters are hitting .176 (12-for-68) against him with 22 strikeouts.