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Anaheim at Minnesota

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L.A. Angels (56-40)000000020270
Minnesota (51-46) «00000113x580

Mauer's inside-the-park homer first by Twin since 2001

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Gary Matthews Jr. had already robbed Joe Mauer of one extra-base hit with a twisting catch of a line drive in the fourth inning.

So when Mauer drove another one to the gap in left-center in the eighth, he tried to put a little more oomph on it, and it was just enough.

Matthews slammed into the fence and just missed making a leaping catch, and Mauer streaked around the bases for a three-run, inside-the-park homer to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

"When I first hit it, I was hoping it would go over the fence so he wouldn't have a chance at it," Mauer said. "He had to go a long way for it, and I'm glad it did what it did."

With one out in a 2-all game and runners on the corners, Mauer drove a 3-2 pitch from Scot Shields over Matthews' head. After sprinting about 30 yards, Matthews leaped at the wall and hit hard into one of the fence posts. He crumpled to the warning track in pain and watched helplessly while Mauer raced home as the crowd of 33,868 shrieked in delight.

Left fielder Garret Anderson came over to retrieve the ball, but it was way too late. Mauer scored standing up without a throw home.

"I thought it was out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He still almost caught it. He's a highlight film out there."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Matthews jammed his left wrist on the play and would be evaluated on Sunday.

It was the first inside-the-park home run for a Twins player since Torii Hunter did it at Oakland on July 26, 2001. The previous major league catcher to hit an inside-the-park shot was Kelly Stinnett with Arizona in 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I was afraid of falling over when I hit the bag at third," joked Mauer, who guessed the last time he hit an inside-the-parker was in Little League on a field with no fences. "It's a long ways around there and I haven't done that in a while."

Hunter and Jason Bartlett also homered for the Twins, who are trying to stay within striking distance in the AL Central race. They trail the first-place Tigers by eight games.

Pat Neshek (5-1) got one out for the win after a strong start by Boof Bonser. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 tries.

The Angels have gone 14 straight games without a home run, a span of 132 innings.

It was another rough outing for Shields (2-3), who gave up three runs, three hits and one walk. He managed only one out after the Angels rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score in the eighth.

One of the best setup men in baseball, Shields failed to protect a lead on Sunday, when he allowed two runs and three hits in a 5-4 loss to Texas. He has allowed five earned runs in his last 1 2/3 innings.

"His command was not as crisp today," Scioscia said. "This guy has been as consistent as any reliever in baseball this year, and he's not going to be able to get it done every time out."

His latest misstep cost the Angels a chance to extend their slim AL West lead over the hard-charging Mariners.

The Angels led Seattle by eight games just 20 games ago, but after losing five of their last six, that lead has shrunk to just one.

After the game, Los Angeles traded catcher Jose Molina to the New York Yankees for minor league reliever Jeff Kennard.

Chone Figgins had two hits, including an RBI triple in the eighth that cut Minnesota's lead to 2-1 and chased Bonser.

Neshek took over and Orlando Cabrera hit a soft single to left to tie the game, just the fifth of 33 inherited runners Neshek has allowed to score this season.

But the Twins came right back in the bottom of the eighth, a rally for their second consecutive victory after a demoralizing three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers.

Bonser and Jered Weaver pitched to a virtual draw to start the game. Bonser allowed two runs and five hits in a career-best 7 2/3 innings for the Twins. Weaver gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings for the Angels.

"It's been a little frustrating, but what are you going to do?" Weaver said. "You just have to go out there and pitch your game and hope you snap out of it."

Notes

  • Minnesota's Jason Kubel reached base in seven straight plate appearances before grounding out to the pitcher in his first at-bat in the second inning.
  • A rare sight: Hunter, one of the best CFs in the game, lost a ball off the bat of Anderson against the white Metrodome roof in the fourth that fell in for a double.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Luis Castillo and Jason Barlett celebrate Joe Mauer's homer while Scot Shields ponders the play.  (AP)
Luis Castillo and Jason Barlett celebrate Joe Mauer's homer while Scot Shields ponders the play. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

C. Figgins
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B4121001 .320
Orlando Cabrera, SS4011000 .311
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4000002 .323
Garret Anderson, LF4020000 .296
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4000002 .278
Casey Kotchman, 1B4000001 .283
Maicer Izturis, 2B3020000 .248
Jose Molina, C2000001 .224
   a- Kendry Morales, PH1000001 .244
    Mike Napoli, C0000000 .254
Reggie Willits, RF2000011 .301
   b- Robb Quinlan, PH-RF1100001 .269
Totals3327201  
a-popped out for Molina in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Willits in the 8th
Batting
2B - Garret Anderson (16, Bonser), Maicer Izturis (8, Bonser)
3B - Chone Figgins (4, Bonser)
RBI - Chone Figgins (30), Orlando Cabrera (54)
2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (13), Orlando Cabrera (22)
CS - Orlando Cabrera (3, 2nd base by Neshek/Mauer)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Izturis-Cabrera-Kotchman
Los Angeles Angels
Jered Weaver 7522122 3.30
Scot Shields (L,2-3) 0.1333101 2.50
Dustin Moseley 0.2000020 3.42
Pitches-Strikes - Jered Weaver 101-65, Scot Shields 26-14, Dustin Moseley 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jered Weaver 9-9
Batters Faced - Jered Weaver 26, Scot Shields 4, Dustin Moseley 2
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B3100100 .304
Jason Bartlett, SS4221000 .264
Joe Mauer, C4113000 .306
Justin Morneau, 1B4010010 .291
Torii Hunter, CF4121010 .300
Jason Kubel, LF2000101 .255
Garrett Jones, DH3010013 .160
Darnell McDonald, RF3000013 .000
Nick Punto, 3B3010001 .213
Totals3058524  
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (18, Jer. Weaver)
3B - Garrett Jones (1, Jer. Weaver)
HR - Jason Bartlett (3, Jer. Weaver), Joe Mauer (5, Shields), Torii Hunter (20, Jer. Weaver)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (25), Joe Mauer 3 (43), Torii Hunter (72)
PK - Nick Punto (2, Shields)
Team LOB - 3
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser 7.2522010 4.53
Pat Neshek (BS,2; W,5-1) 0.1100000 1.48
Joe Nathan (S,20) 1100000 2.05
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 99-63, Pat Neshek 8-5, Joe Nathan 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 14-8, Joe Nathan 1-2
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 28, Pat Neshek 1, Joe Nathan 4
Game Information
Attendance - 33868
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Charlie Reliford, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Tony Randazzo