Angels blanked by Twins, 4-0, and fall eight games out in AL West
The Angels were eight games back in the American League West when they left for a six-game trip to Boston and Minnesota, and after Sunday night's 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, they are eight games behind the Texas Rangers upon their return.
Angels ace Jered Weaver threw four scoreless innings before collapsing in the fifth, allowing a leadoff home run to No. 8 hitter Danny Valencia and a three-run double to Michael Cuddyer. Orlando Hudson had tripled to right field with two outs, and walks to Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel loaded the bases.
Weaver got ahead of Cuddyer, 1-and-2 in the count, but Cuddyer fouled off five consecutive two-strike pitches before lacing his bases-clearing hit into the gap in left-center to give Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
Twins right-hander Scott Baker, who was 0-5 with a 5.82 earned-run average in eight career starts against the Angels, allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two in seven shutout innings to gain the win and improve to 11-9. Weaver fell to 11-9 after going six innings, allowing four runs, six hits, walking four and striking out three.
It marked the third time in nine games that the Angels, who went 2-4 on the trip, have been shut out.
One promising development for the Angels: Reliever Jordan Walden, making his major league debut, got out of a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the eighth by striking out Cuddyer with a 98-mph fastball, striking out Jim Thome with an 82-mph changeup and getting Delmon Young to ground out to second.
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Minneapolis