Peter Bourjos has huge day to lead Angels to 9-3 win over Twins
Rookie center fielder Peter Bourjos led the Angels to a 9-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in Target Field on Saturday, hitting a key two-run home run in the second inning, a run-scoring triple in the fifth, a run-scoring groundout in the ninth and gunning down a runner at the plate to thwart a rally in the fifth.
The win, combined with Texas' loss at Baltimore, moved the Angels to within seven games of the first-place Rangers in the American League West.
The Twins took advantage of three Trevor Bell walks to score three runs in the first inning, Michael Cuddyer knocking in two runs with a single to right field and Delmon Young knocking in the third run with a single to right.
But the Angels packed a serious counter-punch in the second, scoring four runs to take the lead. Hideki Matsui opened the inning with a single to center field and advanced to third base on Erick Aybar's hit-and-run liner that dropped just in front of right fielder Jason Kubel. Had Kubel caught the ball on the fly, it would have been an easy double play.
Mike Napoli hit a sacrifice fly to left field and Jeff Mathis flied to deep center field for the second out, but Bourjos lined a Kevin Slowey fastball over the wall in left field for his first big league home run, a two-run shot that tied the score, 3-3. Bobby Abreu followed with a shot to right field, his 15th home run, to give the Angels a 4-3 lead.
Napoli walked with one out in the fifth and scored on Bourjos' two-out triple to right-center field for a 5-3 lead, and Bourjos came up with his big defensive play in the bottom of the inning. Kubel and Cuddyer singled with one out, knocking Bell out of the game, and Jim Thome greeted Francisco Rodriguez with a hard single to right field to load the bases.
Young followed with a fly ball to medium center field. Bourjos made the catch and fired a one-hop throw to Mathis, who did a masterful job of scooping the ball, blocking the plate and applying the tag on Kubel for the final out of the inning. Though replays showed Kubel got his lead foot to the plate before Mathis' tag, it was still a heck of a play.
The Angels took advantage of a three-base error by center fielder Denard Span, who dropped Matsui's fly ball on the warning track, to score two runs in the sixth inning for a 7-3 lead. Rodriguez gave up only one hit in 2-2/3 innings of relief to earn his first career victory.
Napoli's single and Mathis' hit-and-run triple keyed a two-run rally in the ninth.