ANAHEIM, Calif. — It was billed as a pitching duel, but it never quite came to fruition.
Angels lefty C.J. Wilson was 5-0 in his last starts at Angel Stadium and Minnesota Twins’ righty Kyle Gibson took a 22-inning scoreless streak on to the mound Tuesday night.
The Angels promptly snapped that streak with a five-run first and the Twins came back even quicker, tying the game in the top of the second.
In the end, the Angels dug a little deeper and benefitted from one of their star outfielders to edge the Twins 6-8 in the first game of the three-game series on FOX Sports West. The win was the Halos’ fourth straight and sixth win in seven tries and they now own the best home record in baseball at 16-4.
"There’s no doubt over these last four games, we’ve seen these things come together," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Good to see our bullpen come out today and pick up C.J., we got some good clutch hitting early, and good to see us bounce back after they came back and tied it after 5-0.
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"That’s a pretty good second inning from those guys but we struck back, got the lead, and held on."
In typical Mike Trout fashion, he came through with the heroics and the Angels needed every inch of his towering shot to center field. Gibson left a two-seam fastball out over the plate and Trout put it into the stands in the bottom of the second, sending home Kole Calhoun to break the tie and give the Angels a two-run cushion.
"Not trying to do too much," Trout said. "Just trying to drive the ball and get a pitch there and I did."
He also nearly robbed a home run in the second inning by scaling the center field fence. Had he not gotten stuck, he still thinks he could have had it.
"Mike’s athletic," Scioscia said. "When he plays aggressively, his athleticism protects him and minimizes the risk. We came out of it OK. It’s something I think he’s done before, scaled the wall and gotten a home run. Just didn’t quite get it tonight."
Your #Angels are 16-4 in their last 20 home games and have best home winning pct. in MLB (24-14; .632)
Wilson lasted five innings, giving up six earned on nine hits and striking out four. He was much sharper after the disastrous second inning but needed to pitch himself out of trouble in the sixth after giving up another run to Brian Dozier after he scored on a deep fly by Wilson’s former Angels’ teammate Kendrys Morales.
It was an odd outing. Wilson got ahead of hitters often before giving up a big inning in an unlikely fashion. The Twins started off the second with back-to-back home runs and everything unraveled quickly.
He changed everything he could. From dropping his arm angle, to changing his mentality on the mound, then finally succeeding when he gave up trying to pitch to contact and decided to pitch for strikeouts.
"It was definitely not settling down, it was just giving up on the pitch-to-contact mentality and trying to strike everybody out," Wilson said. "If you’re like, ‘I’m going to make him miss,’ then you make him miss. It worked out better pitching like that and that’s what enabled me to get out of that jam in the fifth as well."
The often-shaky bullpen didn’t teeter at all. They proved to be just as resilient as the rest of the group that is quickly becoming one of the tougher outs in a game full of them.
"You gotta keep grinding and that’s what we did tonight," Scioscia said. "You’re always up to earn everything you get in the game and even though we’re up 5-0, we’re gonna work hard. If they’re gonna come back to score five, great – It’s like a 0-0 game and you have to start over. Trout got that home run again to get us ahead there, they scored which is big, you never expect anything less than a tough game even if you’re up 5-0 in the first inning."