Mauer, Twins power way past Blanton, Angels
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Mauer had a home run among his four hits and drove in three runs for the Minnesota Twins in an 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on a cold, windy Monday night that helped send several fly balls to the deepest parts of Target Field.
Kevin Correia (1-1) earned his first American League win after finishing seven innings for the third time in as many starts with the Twins, getting two double-play grounders to help him limit the Angels to solo home runs by Peter Bourjos and former Twins utility infielder Brendan Harris.
Angels starter Joe Blanton (0-3) was battered again for nine hits, one walk and four runs in 4 2-3 innings. Mauer doubled and scored in the first and led off the fifth inning with a homer to left-center. Trevor Plouffe also went deep off Blanton, and Justin Morneau drove in a run with a double.
Mauer added RBI singles against relievers in the sixth and eighth, when Pedro Florimon also hit a two-run double.
The Angels, with the sixth-highest payroll in the majors this season, fell to 4-9.
Correia gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out five. When he signed a $10 million, two-year contract last winter, it did little to excite Twins fans. But the 32-year-old has been by far their best starter so far with a 2.95 ERA.
Correia was supposed to pitch on Sunday, but an endless blend of snow, sleet and rain prompted the Twins to postpone that game against the New York Mets until August. The forecast for this week isn’t much friendlier for baseball, with the Wednesday night game in question due to possible rain.
The first-pitch temperature was 38 degrees, actually the third-warmest of six home games for the Twins in this frosty start to the season. The wind was gusting toward center field at 16 mph, and it showed.
Bourjos, the slap-hitting speedster in the leadoff spot for now, sent a drive into the left-center bullpen on Correia’s fourth pitch. Harris, whose last major league home run was for the Twins on April 8, 2010, against the Angels, hit one nearby to start the third inning.
As the 32-year-old Harris approached his last leg around the diamond, he wound up and gave third base coach Dino Ebel an exaggerated hand slap on his way home. Harris spent the last two seasons with Triple-A teams for Baltimore and Colorado before joining the Angels this season and replacing the injured Erick Aybar at shortstop last week. Harris has 30 home runs in 1,603 major league at-bats.
Blanton bore the brunt of the breeze, but he’s been throwing a bunch of hittable pitches all month. As one of three newcomers in the rotation with Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas, Blanton has an 8.59 ERA over three starts. He has allowed 26 hits and six home runs in 14-2/3 innings.
Garrett Richards, on Saturday, was the only Angels starter to pitch into the seventh inning in 13 games this year. Three-time All-Star Jered Weaver, the staff ace, is out for at least another three weeks because of a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) elbow.
Oswaldo Arcia singled in the second for the Twins in his first major league at-bat, but he also dropped a routine pop fly for a two-base error in the seventh inning.
The 21-year-old, one of the organization’s top outfield prospects, was recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game. He played left field for Josh Willingham, who was sick, and took the roster spot of Wilkin Ramirez, who was placed on the paternity leave list.
Notes: Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Aybar, rehabilitating a bruised left heel at the team’s spring training facility in Arizona, isn’t close yet to beginning baseball activities. . . . Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Arcia won’t necessarily return to Triple A when Ramirez rejoins the team as soon as Tuesday.