MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Anaheim Angels shut down Minnesota's
offense for the second day in a row.
John Lackey pitched seven strong innings, and Jose Guillen's
tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth sent Anaheim to a 3-1
victory over the Twins on Sunday.Michael Cuddyer homered for Minnesota, its only run in the last
two games. The Twins lost consecutive home games for the first time
this season."It's just two games," said Torii Hunter, who went 0-for-4,
dropping his batting average to .231. "You're bound to do that.
Good pitching will beat good hitting every time. There was good
pitching on each side, and you saw what happened."Troy Percival retired Henry Blanco on a routine fly with the
bases loaded to end it. Chone Figgins tripled and scored in the
first inning for the surging Angels, who have won eight of 10.
Their 11-5 road record is the best in the major leagues.Lackey (2-3) allowed six hits in seven innings, striking out
five for his second straight win. Twins starter Johan Santana also
went seven innings, giving up a run on five hits, with two walks
and six strikeouts."We knew going into this series that we were going to be facing
some good pitching," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We
focused on coming out and getting strong starts from our staff, and
we were able to get those in this series."Percival worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
He's never allowed an earned run in 39 2-3 career innings against
the Twins, converting 20 of 21 save opportunities."We're getting closer against Percival, and maybe we'll get a
run against him soon," Doug Mientkiewicz said.The teams locked in a tight game for the second straight day.
Anaheim won 1-0 Saturday with a run in the ninth inning, but took
only two batters to score another run Sunday. Figgins led off with
a triple to left-center, and Darin Erstad's hard grounder to first
base drove in the run.Cuddyer homered in the fourth to tie it, a 425-foot shot to
center, but only one more Twins hitter reached base until the
ninth.For the second straight game, Anaheim's Francisco Rodriguez
pitched a perfect eighth and Percival closed it out."That's better than the Yankees pitched against us in the
playoffs," Mientkiewicz said. "When guys hit their spots, they're
tough to hit. Rodriguez never seems like he throws the ball over
the white part of the plate."Santana held the Angels in check, but Anaheim again rallied
against Minnesota's bullpen. Figgins led off the eighth with a
single against J.C. Romero (1-1) and stole second as Erstad struck
out. Vladimir Guerrero was intentionally walked, and both runners
moved up on Troy Glaus' groundout.Guillen fell behind 0-2 against Romero, but after taking two
more close pitches for balls, he punched a high fastball to right
field to drive in both runners."J.C. was going at him in a big situation," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "He didn't throw the ball down the middle.
(Guillen) just whacked one over his head."Guillen had just one hit on Sunday, but it was the biggest of
the game."He's been swinging the bat better than his numbers indicate,"
Scioscia said. "He's been hitting it hard. Today, that was a great
at-bat. He got in a hole but fought his way back."The Twins' offense hopes to do the same this week on a trip to
Seattle and Oakland."We've been looking for that big hit, that broken-bat hit or
bloop hit or whatever we could get, but it just didn't work out,"
Hunter said. "But I give guys credit when credit is due, and they
pitched good the last two days."
Minnesota's Luis Rivas snapped an 0-for-23 skid with an
infield single in the third inning. ... Twins LF Shannon Stewart
was scratched from his second consecutive start with a sore left
wrist. ... Figgins started in place of SS David Eckstein, who
hasn't played since straining his groin Tuesday in Detroit. ... The
Angels finished their nine-game road trip with a 7-2 record,
sweeping Oakland and winning two of three against both Detroit and