Michael Cuddyer, second from right, celebrates his fifth-inning grand slam against the Angels with, from left, Joe Mauer, Denard Span and Ben Revere.
Chris Carlson, Associated Press
Cuddyer, Young hammer Angels
- Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
- Star Tribune
- August 4, 2011 - 6:00 AM
ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has used 107 different lineups through 110 games, according to Baseball-Reference.com, so there's a new wrinkle almost every day, but there was plenty to like about Wednesday's mix.
Ben Revere was in left field, batting second behind Denard Span, with Delmon Young at designated hitter. Young is no fan of the DH role, but maybe this 11-4 victory over the Angels might spur his interest.
Young and Michael Cuddyer hit two home runs apiece, and Jason Kubel added another before a crowd of 35,555 at Angel Stadium, as the Twins snapped their three-game losing streak.
The two homers for Young doubled his season total. Coming in, he hadn't hit one since June 9, a span of 130 plate appearances.
Young said he pressed a bit after two trips to the disabled list, trying to make up for lost time.
"I got a little too pull happy at our field, knowing you've gotta hit an absolute tater to hit it out at our place," Young said. "But after seeing [the Dodgers'] Matt Kemp use our field like it was a Little League field, I'm trying to sit back and try to use the whole field again instead of just hitting it to left."
Cuddyer's two homers included a fifth-inning grand slam that gave the Twins an 8-4 lead.
The Twins remained eight games behind the Tigers, who defeated the Rangers 5-4. This also kept the Angels from pulling into a first-place tie with the Rangers in the AL West.
It wasn't a perfect night for the Twins. They pulled starting pitcher Scott Baker after he threw 46 pitches in the third inning, when the Angels scored four runs to take a 4-3 lead.
Baker threw 77 pitches overall in his third start since coming off the disabled list from an elbow injury. It figured the Twins would be cautious after that long inning. He was 5-2 with a 1.31 ERA in his seven previous starts.
Asked if his elbow was bothering him, Baker said, "You either can pitch or you can't, and as of right now I can pitch. I think if you asked anybody, nobody's perfect in here. Tonight, just strictly poor performance."
Fortunately for the Twins, Anthony Swarzak (3-3) delivered five scoreless innings of relief, allowing only one hit and lowering his ERA to 3.20.
Offensively, the Twins should be careful reading too much into Wednesday's results, since they were facing Angels righthander Joel Pineiro, who has a 14.85 ERA in his past four starts.
But at least the Twins didn't miss their chance to pad some statistics.
Revere, who had three hits, showed what a difference speed can make in the first inning, when he raced toward the wall to catch a foul ball from Maicer Izturis. That's a play Young probably doesn't make.
In his 20th career game as a DH, Young saw a familiar face on the mound. In 2006, he hit his second career homer off Pineiro. That was the only time he'd faced him before Wednesday, and he proceeded to homer in his first two at-bats, leaving him 3-for-3 with three homers off a pitcher he'd love to invite if he's ever invited to the Home Run Derby.
It was 4-4 with one out in the fifth inning, when the Twins loaded the bases against Pineiro. He missed badly with his first pitch to Cuddyer, so Angels manager Mike Scioscia turned to lefthander Hisanori Takahashi, even though Cuddyer was batting .346 against lefties.
Cuddyer hit Takahashi's first pitch over the center-field wall for his fifth career grand slam. He added another homer in the ninth, giving him 18 for the season.
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