Minnesota at Anaheim

Minnesota (73-54) «0000100000012100
L.A. Angels (77-49)100000000000152

Punto helps Twins win in 12, pull within half-game of AL Central lead

CBSSports.com wire reports

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Torii Hunter won seven consecutive Gold Gloves in center field for the Minnesota Twins, who beat his new team because of a play he didn't make.

Nick Punto tripled off Hunter's glove leading off the 12th inning and scored on a single by rookie Denard Span, helping the Twins top the Angels 2-1 on Thursday night and pull within a half-game of the AL Central lead.

"I expect to catch that ball. I've got to catch that," said Hunter, who made a leaping attempt in front of the 18-foot wall in right-center. "I'd been playing Punto to pull all night, and he hit it right where I was supposed to be. If it hits your glove, you've got to catch that.

"I make those plays nine out of 10 times."

One out later, Justin Speier (1-7) gave up Span's opposite-field hit inside third base. The run increased the right-hander's ERA to 5.26.

"I could have buried that split-finger a little bit better than I did," Speier said. "I could have bounced it a little bit more and gone for the strikeout. And if I did, who knows what would have happened? I do everything to prepare myself to pitch, but I'm not getting the results I want. It's frustrating."

Hunter signed with the Angels in November after spending his first 10 seasons with the Twins. This was his two-time All-Star's first crack at his ex-teammates since the season-opening, four-game set at Minnesota, where the Angels took three of four and Hunter went 3-for-16 with a home run.

"Nicky ripped it pretty good and Torii had a long ways to go," manager Ron Gardenhire said of Punto's fifth triple. "We've seen him make plenty of catches like that, and I'm glad he didn't make it. But he's as good as they get out there. We got a little lucky there."

Jesse Crain (5-2) pitched a perfect 11th inning for the victory, and Joe Nathan got the Angels 1-2-3 in the 12th for his 35th save in 38 chances.

Minnesota right-hander Scott Baker matched John Lackey pitch for pitch, allowing a run and four hits in eight innings and striking out six in his fifth consecutive no-decision.

"It all starts with pitching, and Scott Baker was really, really good going up against Mr. Lackey -- who's always really good against us," Gardenhire said. "We knew we were going to be in for a battle, and it was. It's a nice start to a road trip."

The Angels have lost six of eight, but still lead Texas by 15 games in the AL West.

Lackey's throwing error to first base on a bunt by Span in the eighth gave the Twins runners at second and third with no outs, but the right-hander escaped the jam. He struck out Alexi Casilla, then got Justin Morneau to hit into a double play after an intentional walk to AL batting leader Joe Mauer.

"Lackey can bear down and make pitches in situations like that as good as anybody in the game," Gardenhire said. "We missed some opportunities, but in those opportunities you look over at the other side and you see who's pitching. He didn't miss too many spots."

Lackey allowed a run and five hits in eight innings and struck out six in his 200th big league start. His 3.29 ERA since the start of the 2005 season is the third lowest in the AL behind Johan Santana (2.99) and Roy Halladay (3.07).

Hunter hit a drive in the fourth inning to left field that looked as though it would be a home run, but Delmon Young caught the ball on the warning track.

"When you hit it good, you kind of have that look," Hunter said. "But I know this park, and the ball doesn't really travel at night. I hit it good enough, but at 387 (feet), it's a little deep I guess. That was tough to swallow."

Mark Teixeira opened the scoring in the first with his 25th home run and fifth since joining the Angels in a July 29 trade with Atlanta. The Twins tied it in the fifth on a two-out double by Punto and an RBI single by Carlos Gomez, who inherited the center field job from Hunter.

Mauer, who leads the league with a .323 average, extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning single. Two seasons ago, Mauer became the third catcher in history to win a league battle title.


  • Garret Anderson was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, ending his 23-game hitting streak on the one-year anniversary of his 10-RBI game against the Yankees at Angel Stadium.
  • The Twins began a 14-game road trip through Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle and Toronto. It's the club's longest since 1969, when they had stretches of 15 straight and 16 straight away from home.
  • This was the first time in nine starts that Lackey didn't allow a home run.
  • Howie Kendrick's infield single in the 10th was the only hit by the Angels after Teixeira's leadoff single in the fourth.
Copyright 2015 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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Nick Punto turns on the jets for a 12th-inning triple, setting up the decisive run. (Getty Images)
Nick Punto turns on the jets for a 12th-inning triple, setting up the decisive run. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game

S. Baker
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 6

J. Lackey
IP 8.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 6

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Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, RF4021000 .318
Alexi Casilla, 2B6010026 .309
Joe Mauer, C4010201 .323
Justin Morneau, 1B4000125 .307
Jason Kubel, DH5000013 .273
Delmon Young, LF5010020 .285
Brendan Harris, 3B3000020 .263
   a- Brian Buscher, PH-3B1010000 .312
   b- Randy Ruiz, PH1000001 .344
    Adam Everett, SS0000000 .211
Nick Punto, SS-3B5220001 .282
Carlos Gomez, CF5021011 .252
a-doubled for Harris in the 9th
b-grounded into a double play for Buscher in the 11th
2B - Denard Span (12, Shields), Brian Buscher (7, Rodriguez), Nick Punto (15, Lackey)
3B - Nick Punto (4, Speier)
SH - Denard Span (7)
RBI - Denard Span (22), Carlos Gomez (38)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Gomez (21)
SB - Denard Span (11, 2nd base off Speier/Mathis), Carlos Gomez (26, 2nd base off Lackey/Napoli)
Team LOB - 10
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 8411261 3.74
Matt Guerrier 2100210 4.78
Jesse Crain (W,5-2) 1000000 3.46
Joe Nathan (S,35) 1000020 0.98
IBB - Figgins by Matt Guerrier
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 103-69, Matt Guerrier 35-20, Jesse Crain 6-5, Joe Nathan 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 4-13, Matt Guerrier 2-3, Jesse Crain 3-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 29, Matt Guerrier 9, Jesse Crain 3, Joe Nathan 3
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B4010120 .277
Erick Aybar, SS4000102 .277
Mark Teixeira, 1B5121001 .295
Vladimir Guerrero, RF4010101 .288
Torii Hunter, CF4000113 .276
Garret Anderson, LF5000033 .285
Howie Kendrick, 2B5010012 .310
Kendry Morales, DH3000000 .143
   a- Sean Rodriguez, PH-DH2000011 .174
Mike Napoli, C3000010 .217
   b- Juan Rivera, PH1000000 .240
    Jeff Mathis, C0000000 .207
a-popped out-bunting for Morales in the 10th
b-grounded out for Napoli in the 10th
HR - Mark Teixeira (25, Baker)
RBI - Mark Teixeira (95)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teixeira (39)
CS - Chone Figgins (9, 2nd base by Baker/Mauer)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Kendrick-Aybar-Teixeira, Kendrick-Aybar-Teixeira, Figgins-Kendrick-Teixeira
E - John Lackey 2 (5, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
John Lackey 8511260 3.09
Francisco Rodriguez 1100010 2.70
Scot Shields 1100120 2.74
Darren Oliver 1100000 2.95
Justin Speier (L,1-7) 1211010 5.26
IBB - Mauer by John Lackey, Mauer by Scot Shields
HBP - Span (by John Lackey)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 105-62, Francisco Rodriguez 15-10, Scot Shields 19-11, Darren Oliver 12-10, Justin Speier 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 10-7, Francisco Rodriguez 1-1, Scot Shields 1-0, Darren Oliver 2-0, Justin Speier 1-1
Batters Faced - John Lackey 31, Francisco Rodriguez 4, Scot Shields 5, Darren Oliver 3, Justin Speier 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41367
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Brian Gorman