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The Journal Gazette

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Scott Downs, left, covering first, cannot handle the ball as Minnesota Twins' Denard Span, right, singles to drive in the tying run in the seventh inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 12, 2012, in Minneapolis. The Twins won 10-9. Downs suffered a leg injury on the play and left the game. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 8:37 pm

Angels let Twins power way back for 10-9 win

By DAVE CAMPBELLAP Sports Writer

The Los Angeles Angels relievers had a rough afternoon.

Dan Haren didn't set the best example.

Justin Morneau hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Twins rallied from six runs down to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 10-9 on Thursday.

With LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen unavailable after working the night before, manager Mike Scioscia's options in the bullpen were limited. After Haren threw 94 pitches in five innings, leaving with a 6-3 lead, Hisanori Takahashi, Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs and Rich Thompson gave up 11 hits and seven runs over the last four innings.

"We're going to need to get our starters maybe over that little hump and then try to get our roles in the bullpen a little more nailed down," Scioscia said. "Our guys tried. We just couldn't shut the door when we needed it."

Haren has allowed 20 hits and eight runs over 10 1-3 innings in two starts this season.

"I've been able to strike guys out, minimize the walks. But it just seems like everything is falling in right now," Haren said. "It's just one of those times. Just got to keep working hard."

Maicer Izturis hit a two-run single in a five-run second inning and had two of the Angels' five steals. Mark Trumbo homered and scored a run in the fifth on Vernon Wells' two-out ground-rule double when he walked and stole a base. But that wasn't enough.

Denard Span had four hits, including an infield single that tied it at 6 in the seventh inning. On the play, he reached first at the same time as Downs, inadvertently stomping down on top of the reliever's foot with his cleat. Downs' right ankle rolled awkwardly, and he left the game what the team called a bruise. He was on crutches afterward, and he'll have an MRI test on Friday. His X-rays showed no break.

"It's pretty sore," Downs said.

Which hurt worse? The inning or the injury?

"Both," Downs said. "That's baseball. That's going to happen. It's not fun to watch, that's for sure. It's just something we have to bounce back from as a bullpen and go back at it."

Scioscia said he wasn't worried - about Haren or his relievers.

"I think our bullpen's deeper this year than it was last year," the manager said. "But we have to get settled into some roles. We got a lot of confidence in what the arms can do. ... It's going to come once our starters hit stride, some of those things will start to work out in the bullpen."

Wells singled, moved on up on Brian Duensing's wild pitch and scored on Peter Bourjos' base hit in the eighth. That put the Angels in front again - for a few minutes.

In the bottom half, Mauer singled off Thompson (0-1), and Morneau followed with his first home run of the season. He had left seven runners on before that. The Twins tacked on two more runs, but the drama didn't stop there.

Jeff Gray (2-0) picked up the victory, and Matt Capps notched his second save despite giving the Angels two runs back.

Albert Pujols singled to start the ninth and reached third when Torii Hunter's possible double-play ball skipped off second base for a fluke single. Trumbo cut the lead to two with an RBI single, Wells beat out another potential double-play ball and another run scored on a fielder's choice to first.

Chris Iannetta's slow roller to third ended the game with a runner on second.

Pujols is 5 for 23 with his new team with two RBIs and two doubles.

"I don't think he's pressing. I think he's getting used to different environments to hit in, getting used to a different set of pitchers," Scioscia said. "He's been on a lot of pitches and just missing them. He's going to be fine."

NOTES: The Angels allowed 20-plus hits for the first time since May 10, 2010, at Boston. ... The last time the Angels surrendered a 6-0 lead and lost was on May 14, 1994, when Seattle overcame a 7-0 deficit to win 10-7. ... The Angels send Ervin Santana (0-1, 7.94 ERA) to the mound on Friday in New York to face Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 6.35 ERA) of the Yankees.