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Minnesota at Anaheim

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Minnesota (49-49) «20040112010122
L.A. Angels (57-39)000100000151

Morneau homers twice, Twins end Angels' eight-game winning streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Although Justin Morneau took the AL lead in both homers and RBI with a noisy day at the plate, Minnesota's slugger gave more credit to a rookie pitcher for waking the Twins out of a big sleep.

Anthony Swarzak shut down the Angels' potent lineup with 6 2/3 strong innings, and the Twins ended Los Angeles' eight-game winning streak with a 10-1 victory Sunday.

Denard Span homered and drove in a season-high four runs, and even light-hitting Nick Punto added a season-best three RBI as Minnesota ended a four-game losing streak. The rebound came one day after a closed-door meeting in which the Twins worried aloud whether their season was slipping away.

"Any time you get pitching like that, it gives you a little boost," Morneau said. "You're not trying to hit three-run homers because you're down by seven. ... We needed it for ourselves, for our confidence. They beat us around pretty good for the last three days, so it was good to come back and do that to them -- for one game, anyway."

With Morneau providing the biggest blasts on his way to racking up 26 homers and 82 RBI, Minnesota salvaged the final day of a disappointing 10-game road trip with 12 hits and a sterling effort from Swarzak (3-3), a most unlikely streak-stopper.

 Twins' Mijares falls ill in bullpen, taken to hospital

The right-hander allowed just four hits and three walks in his eighth career start, throwing 121 pitches against one of the majors' most productive offenses. He's filling in while Kevin Slowey recovers from a wrist injury, but Swarzak looks increasingly comfortable in the big leagues -- and with Slowey now shut down indefinitely, the Twins need him even more.

"I don't know if I'd call myself a stopper yet," said Swarzak, who acknowledged a serious case of nerves while walking two batters in the first inning. "They're a real hot team. They've got some great hitters over there. To be able to stop them is big."

Kendry Morales' fourth-inning homer was the first hit for Los Angeles, which scored 62 runs during its streak before sputtering on a sweltering day in Orange County. Twins reliever Jose Mijares was sent to a hospital after feeling faint during the early innings, but manager Ron Gardenhire expects him to be fine.

Morneau hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the seventh as the Twins battered Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana (3-6) for six runs. A 16 game-winning All-Star last year, Santana couldn't get through the fourth inning in the latest discouraging start of his injury-plagued season.

"I made good pitches, and they still just hit the ball, like a blooper or a ground ball," said Santana, who has missed significant time this season with a sprained elbow ligament and an inflamed triceps. "I think I pitched better than [the statistics]. ... I don't know about the gun, but I feel like [the ball] is coming out of my hand better."

Los Angeles lost for just the second time in 14 games. The Angels' AL West lead over Texas dropped back to 3½ games with the end of their longest win streak since August 2004.

Swarzak mostly baffled the Angels in just his second victory in seven starts, although the Twins' lineup removed most of the pressure early on. Swarzak retired nine straight before Morales' 18th homer, and his ERA dropped to 3.74.

"He got a lead, and he just kept throwing strikes," Chone Figgins said. "He kept the ball out of the middle of the plate. We took some good swings, but we kept missing some balls."

Punto, the slap-hitting shortstop who entered the game batting .202, had his first three-RBI game of the season. He snapped a 5-for-24 skid with a two-run single in the fourth.

"It's been an inconsistent year for me, to say the least," Punto said. "We've got some guys in the middle of this lineup that are having All Star-caliber years, and if we can start pulling our weight at the bottom of the order, we can get right back in this race."

Span also had a two-run single in the fourth to chase Santana. The Twins' leadoff hitter added a two-run homer in the eighth.

Notes

  • Gardenhire went to the bullpen in the fourth inning to check on Mijares, who was hooked up to a heart monitor. Gardenhire said the hospital's tests on Mijares looked good. "It was scary, though," Gardenhire said. "It wasn't about the game after that."
  • Morneau had his 12th career multihomer game.
  • Santana has given up at least five runs in all but one home start this season.
 
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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The Twins' Justin Morneau is all smiles as he notches his 12th career multihomer game.  (AP)
The Twins' Justin Morneau is all smiles as he notches his 12th career multihomer game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
Minnesota

D. Span
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, RF4124000 .285
Joe Mauer, C5110004 .363
Justin Morneau, DH4223100 .315
Jason Kubel, LF4000111 .310
Michael Cuddyer, 1B5120011 .273
Brian Buscher, 3B5120020 .229
Carlos Gomez, CF4310115 .236
Nick Punto, SS4123011 .208
Alexi Casilla, 2B3000101 .164
Totals3810121046  
Batting
2B - Nick Punto (6, Mosebach)
HR - Denard Span (6, Loux), Justin Morneau 2 (26, Santana, Loux)
RBI - Denard Span 4 (36), Justin Morneau 3 (82), Nick Punto 3 (21)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span 4 (13), Nick Punto 2 (7)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Nick Punto (7, Throwing), Denard Span (4, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Anthony Swarzak (W,3-3) 6.2411341 3.74
Matt Guerrier 1.1000010 2.08
Jesse Crain 1100020 7.29
Pitches-Strikes - Anthony Swarzak 122-78, Matt Guerrier 15-9, Jesse Crain 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anthony Swarzak 6-11, Matt Guerrier 1-2
Batters Faced - Anthony Swarzak 28, Matt Guerrier 4, Jesse Crain 4
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B2000201 .310
    Brandon Wood, 3B0000000 .160
Maicer Izturis, 2B4000004 .306
Bobby Abreu, RF2010100 .311
    Robb Quinlan, LF1000000 .244
Kendry Morales, 1B4111013 .289
Mike Napoli, C4000023 .278
Erick Aybar, SS4010000 .317
Howie Kendrick, DH4000012 .263
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4010021 .228
Reggie Willits, LF-RF4010013 .255
Totals3315137  
Batting
2B - Erick Aybar (15, Crain), Reggie Willits (1, Swarzak)
HR - Kendry Morales (18, Swarzak)
RBI - Kendry Morales (56)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Figgins-Izturis-Morales
E - Bobby Mosebach (1, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
Ervin Santana (L,3-6) 3.2666241 7.29
Jason Bulger 1.1000100 4.06
Bobby Mosebach 1110110 0.00
Shane Loux 3533012 5.48
HBP - Span (by Bobby Mosebach)
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 85-53, Jason Bulger 18-8, Bobby Mosebach 26-13, Shane Loux 36-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 5-2, Jason Bulger 1-2, Bobby Mosebach 2-0, Shane Loux 3-5
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 19, Jason Bulger 4, Bobby Mosebach 6, Shane Loux 14
Game Information
Attendance - 36386
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Randy Marsh