La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Postgame: Santana injured in Twins' loss to Angels

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 26, 2014 - 1:23 AM

After icing his left knee for about 20 minutes on Wednesday, Danny Santana said he felt better. But he was going to put more ice on it once he returned to the team hotel.

Santana and the Twins will know more in the morning when he reports to the clubhouse and is examined by doctors again. Everyone is crossing their fingers that the hitch in his giddyap is not a serious one.

The Twins lost 6-2 to the Angels on Wednesday, but what's more concerning is that Santana had to leave the game in the third inning after he felt something in his knee while running.

``It twisted a little after I hit the base,'' Santana said, ``This is the first time in my life (hurting it).’’

Santana played in only his 23rd major league on Wednesday but might already be an indispensable player in the Twins lineup. He's gives them a dynamic leadoff hitter with blazing speed and the ability to drive the ball. His arm is powerful, even for a shortstop, and he's gifted enough to pass as a centerfielder without having a lot of experience out there.

So seeing Santana hobbling into second base in the third inning had to be unsettling to the Twins.

``Did something to his knee out there,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``Hopefully everything is good. They checked it out. He’s day-to-day and that’s all we know. We’ll see tomorrow morning.’’

With one out, Santana served a soft liner to left-center and turned for for second. Suddenly, he was skipping on one leg as he reached the bag. He bent over as Gardenhire and head trainer Dave Pruemer rushed to second.  Santana tested the knee, felt the same problem and replaced by Pedro Florimon.

``They took him in there and they checked his knee out thoroughly and we'll see how he is in the morning,'' Gardenhire said.

Twins righthander Yohan Pino went seven strong innings in his debut last Thursday and threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes on Wednesday. But Angels hitters worked him over, running counts deep and fouling off pitches until they got big hits off of him.

He gave up three runs in the second on a sacrifice fly by Grant Green and a two-run double to right by Kole Calhoun. Albert Pujols opened the third with a single and advanced to third on Josh Hamilton's double to right. Pujols scored on Erick Aybar's sacrifice fly and Hamilton scored on Howie Kendrick's single to give the Angels a 5-1 lead

Pinto threw 74 pitches in three innings.

Catcher Eric Fryer, who worked with Pinto at Rochester as he went 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA before being called up, said Pino lacked a little sharpness that kept him from putting hitters away.

``That was his M.O. for the whole time in Triple-AAA,'' Fryer said. ``When he has a chance to put someone away, even in a big situation, he's able to do it.''

The Twins got a solo home run from Oswaldo Arcia in the second inning and a RBI single by Kendrys Morales in the eighth for their runs. Angels flamethrower Garrett Richards made it tough on them throughout his 7.1-inning outing. He gave up one earned run on four hits and five walks with five strikeouts.

The Twins were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, so they didn't help themselves. Richards, who hit 99 miles an hour on the radar gun with a pitch in the second inning, didn't make things easy.

``Garrett’s stuff is electric,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``The ball was coming out of his hand with good movement. And he made some key pitches.’’

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