Twins 10, Angels 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)
Jim Thome feels he's in the right place at the right time to make another run at a World Series title, and possibly win one this time after two close calls with the Cleveland Indians.
The Minnesota Twins feel the same way, now that they've added his bat to their already powerful lineup. Thome drove in three runs with his 565th career home run, Brendan Harris hit a tiebreaking two-run shot and Delmon Young added a three-run homer in the ninth, leading the Twins to a 10-1 rout of the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
``To be a part of this is hopefully going to be very special,'' Thome said. ``But it's hard to say after four games how the season is going to play itself out because there's some good teams in our division. It all boils down to health. These guys have had some wonderful teams. So for me, it'll be fun to kind of learn and go about this process - because they definitely play the right way and they've played the right way for years.''
The Twins took three of four in their season-opening series against the three-time defending AL West champions, whose 1-3 start is their worst since starting 1992 at 0-4. Minnesota hasn't won a season series against the Halos since 2002, the year they lost to them in the AL championship series.
``We had a good series here. You come out here against this club and win three out of four, that's a nice way to start a season,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``That's a great baseball team over there. It has been for a long time, and it's no different now. They've got a lot of good players over there and of weapons, so you know they're always going to be there.''
Young capped a four-run ninth against Fernando Rodney with the ninth home run of the season for the Twins, who have homered in each of their first four games for the first time since 1997.
``As a pitching staff, it's certainly encouraging to know that we're going to score runs,'' winning pitcher Kevin Slowey said. ``I certainly don't envy guys who have to throw against our lineup.''
Slowey (1-0) allowed a run and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings and struck out three. The right-hander got off to a 10-3 start last year, but went on the disabled list July 4 with an injured wrist that required season-ending surgery in August.
``Last year was unfortunate for me, and obviously wasn't how I would have drawn it up,'' Slowey said. ``It was a very long and arduous rehab process in the offseason, and there were times when I didn't feel like I was going to be able to pitch again. So I feel very blessed to be back out there and be part of the team again.''
Pineiro (0-1) gave up three runs and five hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander signed a two-year, $16 million, contract in January, about a month after longtime Angels ace John Lackey went to Boston as a free agent.
``He was a great pitcher and he did great things for this organization, but everyone else puts a lot more emphasis on it than I do,'' Pineiro said. ``My job is to go out there and pitch every five days, give them innings and give us a chance to win.''
Pineiro escaped a first-inning jam by striking out Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer with runners at the corners. He did not allow another hit until the fifth, when Thome led off with a double and scored on Jason Kubel's single.
One out later, Harris drove a 1-0 pitch into the left field bullpen. Harris started in the ninth spot and played third in place of Nick Punto, who is 0 for 9 against Pineiro.
Thome made it 6-1 in the eighth with a drive to right-center against Brian Stokes. The homer put him eight behind former Twins great Harmon Killebrew for 10th place on the career list. The three runs off Stokes were the first allowed by Angels relievers this season after 11 scoreless innings.
Hideki Matsui started in left field for the Angels after three games in the DH role, his first appearance in the outfield since June 15, 2008 with the Yankees in an interleague game at Houston. Last year's World Series MVP was 1 for 4 and did not get an opportunity to make a putout.
NOTES: Friday is the one-year anniversary of the early morning car crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and his friends Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart, and seriously injured former Cal State Fullerton catcher and infielder Jon Wilhite. ... Twins C Drew Butera is expected to make his big league debut Friday night at Chicago when teammate Francisco Liriano takes the mound against White Sox lefty John Danks. Butera's father, Sal, spent part of his nine-year big league career with the Twins, the first three seasons and his next-to-last one.