Rematch of young pitchers as Twins host Angels (Jul 03, 2017)

BY AP • July 3, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia has thrown two straight consecutive starts, adding to the idea that the Minnesota Twins found a rotation stalwart in a trade with the San Francisco Giants last year.

The Los Angeles Angels also believe they acquired a young starter in a trade last season -- from Minnesota.

Right-hander Alex Meyer, who dazzled for Los Angeles during a busy month of June, will make his first start of July against the Twins at Target Field on Monday. Mejia will try to keep his strong run of starts going for Minnesota.

Meyer (3-4, 3.74 ERA) went 1-2 in six June starts but had a 2.25 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 32 innings in the month, which began with six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against Minnesota.

Meyer was acquired by the Twins as a top prospect from the Washington Nationals but never had much success at the major league level before being traded to the Angels last year along with Ricky Nolasco for Hector Santiago.

In his last outing, Meyer pitched six scoreless innings Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and gave up one hit, but he walked five batters. Control, as it was in his Minnesota days, is still troublesome for the tall right-hander. He had 19 walks last month.

"Every time I get in trouble, a lot of it's because of me, with walks specifically," Meyer said after his last outing. "If I had just thrown strikes earlier in the game, I probably would get to keep pitching."

Meyer hasn't been able to pitch past six innings because of high pitch counts.

"That was an extreme effort for him to get through six innings," manager Mike Scioscia said of Meyer's last outing, a 3-2 Angels victory. "He made some big pitches to get out of a couple innings early, but he found his release point and finished strong through the sixth and gave us a chance to win. It's all you can ask for."

The June 1 start at home was the first time Meyer has faced the Twins. He allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out four batters in an eventual 4-2 Los Angeles defeat.

Mejia was Meyer's mound opponent on June 1, as he will be Monday in Minnesota. The rookie left-hander also ended up without a decision in the game. Mejia pitched six innings and allowed one run on five hits and two walks. It was the only time he has faced the Angels.

Kole Calhoun connected for a home run off Mejia in the game for the only run Mejia allowed. Miguel Sano homered for the Twins off Meyer.

Sano, 24, was named to his first All-Star game on Sunday. He enters play Monday with a .272 average, 20 homers and 58 RBIs in 75 games.

"It's awesome, especially at such a young age to go to my first All-Star Game," Sano told "My career is just starting, so there are a lot of things that can happen, and hopefully this won't be my last one."

Former Angels pitcher Ervin Santana was also named to the All-Star team for Minnesota, while injured star Mike Trout was Los Angeles' named representative. Trout won't play in the series against the Twins, though he is due to start rehabbing his injured thumb with the Angels' in workouts with Class A Inland Empire.

After back-to-back tough starts in mid-June, Mejia hasn't allowed a run in his past 10 2/3 innings while winning his past two starts. Mejia pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, giving up five hits and just one walk.

Mejia will need to be on against Los Angeles (43-43) as Minnesota tries to solve its home woes following a disappointing end to a long road trip. The Twins (41-40) open the week three games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.

After sweeping the Indians in three games to start its road trip, Minnesota lost six of the final eight, including a 6-2 setback in Kansas City on Sunday.

"These last eight games have been terrible," second baseman Brian Dozier told the Minneapolis Star Tribune after Sunday's loss.

Manager Paul Molitor pointed to the pitching.

"I notice we've had two starts past six innings in the past (18 games). It takes its toll," Molitor told the Star Tribune.

share story