Cuddyer pinch-homer lifts Twins past Angels in 10

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With their starting pitchers struggling, the Minnesota Twins have so far shown an aversion to early leads. But they've made rallying just as much of a habit.

Pinch-hitter Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer against former teammate J.C. Romero in the 10th inning, lifting the Twins to a 12-10 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Minnesota has trailed in all seven wins, including a ninth-inning comeback Saturday against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and this surge past the stingy Angels bullpen after 9-4 and 10-8 deficits.

"A win is a win in our book, and we don't care how we do it," said Cuddyer, who hit an 0-1 changeup over the wall in right-center field and sprinted around the bases to meet the happy mob at home plate.

Romero (1-1) struck out Shannon Stewart to start the inning, but he walked Luis Castillo -- who stole second base without a throw and moved to third on Joe Mauer's groundout before Cuddyer's big hit.

"We kept playing," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's what this game's all about."

Dominant at times with the Twins, Romero's control problems and personality clashes with Gardenhire ultimately led to his trade to Los Angeles last December.

He recently ticked off his old team by saying the Angels' bullpen was the best group he had ever been a part of, but he claimed this week those comments were taken the wrong way.

"I want to make a statement: This is not about J.C. and the Twins, or whatever," Romero said. "Anytime you lose, it's not a pleasant situation."

Joe Nathan (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless 10th. He and some of his fellow relievers spoke with Romero about the remark, and Nathan said there were no hard feelings.

"I think J.C. is in a better spot mentally, so I think it was more along the lines of that than him trying to stir up anything with us," Nathan said.

Adam Kennedy had four hits and two RBI, Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer, Casey Kotchman had two hits and two RBI and Darin Erstad scored twice after leadoff doubles for Los Angeles.

After totaling eight runs on 12 hits the night before, the Angels got 13 more hits against the Twins. Kyle Lohse bore the brunt of it, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Minnesota's starters, expected to be one of baseball's best groups, have a majors-worst 7.04 ERA through 14 games.

Castillo and Stewart each had two hits and two RBI and Torii Hunter homered for the Twins, who pulled within 9-8 after scoring four runs in the sixth against starter Ervin Santana and Brendan Donnelly.

After consecutive run-scoring hits by Lew Ford, Juan Castro and
Stewart, Castillo kept the inning alive with a two-out, full-count walk. Vladimir Guerrero dropped Mike Redmond's fly ball to right -- allowing Stewart to score on the error and move Minnesota within one.

The Twins were still within one, 10-9, entering the ninth against Los Angeles closer Francisco Rodriguez -- loading the bases with none out. Rodriguez got Justin Morneau to pop out and struck out Tony Batista, before Ford walked to force in the tying run.

"The bottom line is that I didn't get the job done," said Rodriguez, whose ERA is 6.75. "I've just got to come out and be ready for tomorrow's game. My last couple of outings -- that's not me out there."

Santana gave up seven hits, seven runs -- three earned -- and three walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out five. He was stuck with an error-aided, four-run second to take a 4-2 lead. Third baseman Maicer Izturis tried to make a difficult, over-the-shoulder catch of Morneau's foul ball and dropped it. Morneau wound up with an RBI single.

With two outs, Stewart hit a high chop off the plate that gave Izturis no play and went for a tying infield single. Castillo drove in two more with a sharp single up the middle.

Lohse gave the lead right back, surrendering two runs in the third on Cabrera's homer. He was charged with all four runs in the fourth, when Kennedy's two-run single made it 6-4 and ended his night. Lohse, whose ERA leaped to 11.57, gave up seven hits, a walk and a hit batter.

Matt Guerrier gave up an RBI single to Chone Figgins and let another run score on a fielder's choice grounder by Guerrero. Izturis added an run-scoring single off Guerrier in the fifth to give Los Angeles a five-run lead that didn't last as long as manager Mike Scioscia would've liked.

"We didn't deserve to win that game today, and it would've been luck if we did," he said. "These guys know what it's about. Too many mistakes."

Game notes
Ruben Sierra went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in his Twins debut, batting cleanup and filling in for DH Rondell White, who's batting .098. ... Right-hander Hector Carrasco, a reliever for Minnesota from 1998-2001, will take Colon's turn in the rotation for the Angels in Thursday's game. ... Hunter, who has 12 RBI, ended an 0-for-13 slump with his homer. ... Kennedy has 10 RBI this season, all in the last 10 games. This was his 12th career four-hit game.