Twins hope for more road mojo vs. Angels (Jun 02, 2017)

BY AP • June 2, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Most major league players do not look forward to road trips. However, after the homestand the Minnesota Twins had, Brian Dozier said he was happy to get out of Minneapolis.

The Twins were blasted by Houston to end a 1-5 homestand, the Astros scoring 40 runs in three games and beating up a bedraggled bullpen. Plus, the Twins are enjoying good road mojo this season. After beating the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Thursday night, they are now 15-5 on the road.

"It was a bad homestand," Dozier said, "so we were all a little happy to get on the road."

Adalberto Mejia pitched six strong innings Thursday. Tyler Duffey worked out of trouble in the seventh. Kole Calhoun hit a go-ahead home run off Taylor Rogers in the eighth, but the Twins used an error and clutch hits by Eddie Rosario and Jason Castro in the ninth to give Rogers the win.

Brandon Kintzler worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.

The Twins hope this is the start of a good trend for their pitching, especially the bullpen. The Twins have allowed 77 home runs this season, the second-highest total in the American League. Minnesota's bullpen ERA is the highest in baseball at 5.29. Since May 13, 12 pitchers have moved from the Twins to the minors or back.

The Twins' Friday starting pitcher, right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-4, 7.85 ERA), once was a bright spot in the organization. He went 11-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 2015. He slipped last season, to 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA, and got off to such a bad start in 2017 -- never lasting more than 5 1/3 innings in six starts -- that he was sent to Triple-A Rochester.

Manager Paul Molitor was succinct when he sent Gibson down.

"He's putting us in a bad spot more times than not," the Hall of Famer said. "I still have faith in him, but we need to give him an opportunity to work things out."

Gibson made two starts at Rochester and pitched 12 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 12 hits and four walks. But his recall on May 22 had more to do with Phil Hughes going on the disabled list and the bullpen erupting in flames.

Gibson has gone five innings and 5 1/3 innings in two starts since returning. He earned a win at Baltimore in the first, but he took the loss against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.21 ERA in six career starts against the Angels.

The Angels' Friday starter, right-hander JC Ramirez (5-3, 3.38 ERA), has been one of the bright spots on a pitching staff that has been flogged by injuries. The former reliever began transitioning to a starting role in spring training because so many starters were returning from injuries.

Ramirez made three relief appearances before moving into the rotation, and he has been excellent in 10 starts. He has pitched at least seven innings four times, a team high. He allowed seven hits and a walk in seven innings in his last start, Saturday at Miami.

Ramirez is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his past seven starts. This will be his first career appearance against Minnesota.

"He's been outstanding," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "It is not an easy transition to make (to be a starter), especially since he's spent his entire career working out of the bullpen. The big thing is his consistency. He's working deep into games, and there (have) been very few where he hasn't kept us in the game."



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