Escobar, Cave lead Twins to 7-5 victory
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s Jake Cave hit a ball deep into left-center in the eighth inning Sunday.
But one of baseball’s best players was closing fast.
Fortunately for the Twins, the ball fell behind Mike Trout and Cave ended up with a double.
Cave had a career-high three hits, including a home run, and the Twins held on to beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-5.
“I saw him kind of jump and I didn’t see the ball, but I heard the crowd start cheering, so I was like, `Oh, I think that ball got by him.’ So that was cool,” Cave said.
“I know I’m probably not allowed to say this, but he’s probably my favorite player. So to be able to hit some balls out there to him today and to be on the same field as him, it was an honor, really.”
Cave, who made his major league debut May 19 and was 1-for-10 at the plate entering Sunday — the lone hit cleared the fence — also singled and homered.
Minnesota traded for Cave in March after he was designated for assignment by the Yankees.
“To be able to come up and show that I deserve to be here, it does feel really good,” said Cave, who hit 20 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
Eduardo Escobar doubled twice to take over the major league lead with 26 and the Minnesota bullpen threw 3 2-3 shutout innings before a two-run single by Albert Pujols in the ninth.
Los Angeles had the go-ahead run at the plate against closer Fernando Rodney in a non-save situation, but Zack Cozart popped out.
“He’s been pretty clean, but that one kind of had us a little anxious,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Pujols had three RBIs to pass Stan Musial for sixth-most in baseball history with 1,954. Ian Kinsler had three hits for Los Angeles, which lost for the first time in seven games.
Minnesota’s Fernando Romero (3-2) had control issues from the outset, but managed to complete five innings to win for the first time in six starts. He allowed five hits and struck out five while throwing 94 pitches. Romero also hit two batters and threw two wild pitches.
Los Angeles starter Nick Tropeano (3-4) struggled for the second consecutive outing, allowing five earned runs in 4 1-3 innings. Tropeano allowed five earned runs in 4 2-3 innings last Monday against Kansas City.
Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Mitch Garver doubled, Cave had an RBI single and Ehire Adrianza an RBI triple off Tropeano for a 4-3 Twins lead. Escobar had an RBI double two batters later against Cam Bedrosian.
After giving up a two-run home run to Logan Morrison in the first, Tropeano retired 10 straight Twins before the fifth.
“I just didn’t execute pitches when I needed to,” Tropeano said. “With runners in scoring position you got to make your pitches.”
Los Angeles was 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
BOTTOM THREE COME THROUGH
Garver, Cave and Adrianza were the bottom three hitters in the Twins lineup.
They combined for six of Minnesota’s 10 hits.
FIRST FOR FERNANDEZ
Los Angeles’ Jose Miguel Fernandez got his first career RBI with a fourth-inning double. Called up from Triple-A Salt Lake before Friday’s game, the 30-year-old first-baseman was 4-for-10 in the series.
Angels: C Martin Maldonado, who fouled a ball off his foot Friday, was back behind the plate. He was hit by a pitch in the second inning.
Twins: Brian Dozier got a day off with Escobar starting at 2B. … CF Byron Buxton (broken left big toe) and 1B Joe Mauer (neck/concussion) did some pregame base-running Sunday. Mauer also took batting practice and did some fielding. After the game, the team announced Mauer will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at Triple-A Rochester.
Angels: Open a three-game series Monday in Seattle with LHP Andrew Heaney (3-4, 3.12) scheduled to start against Mariners LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 2.94).
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 4.24) is scheduled to get the ball Tuesday in Detroit to begin a six-game road trip. LHP Blaine Hardy (2-1, 3.66) is the scheduled Tigers starter.