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Calhoun HRs, but Angels' rally falls short in 9th
By Rhett Bollinger and Shane Jackson
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson tossed his longest outing of the year to help push the Twins past the Angels, 5-4, on Tuesday at Target Field. Minnesota has won 10 of its last 13 meetings with Los Angeles, including six straight at home.
Gibson held the Halos to a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings, marking the first time all year he had recorded an out in the seventh. Gibson scattered five hits, while recording four strikeouts and a pair of walks. It is the second time in as many days the Twins staff posted a quality start after recording just one over the previous 12 outings.
"My mindset has allowed me to execute better," said Gibson, who has a 3.91 ERA over his last eight starts. "I'm not trying to turn around my season in one start. It's going to take 15-16 starts until my season is where I want it. So I'm trying to ignore the scoreboard and just give my team a chance to win every five days. Trying not to put too much pressure on each outing."
The Angels brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, but were unable to complete the comeback. Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols both crushed solo shots in a losing effort. Pujols' 459-foot blast in the eighth was his longest home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Calhoun's homer in the sixth went a projected 413 feet, per Statcast™, his second longest of the season.
"Albert has been hitting the ball hard this week, but he got one up in the air. Ball went a long way and he killed it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As a team, we haven't been driving the ball very well this year. But right now, it's good to see."
Byron Buxton notched his fifth homer of the season with a solo blast in the sixth. According to Statcast™, the home run traveled an estimated 416 feet with an exit velocity of 107.1 mph.
Angels right-hander JC Ramirez, who was handed his second straight loss, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings. Ehire Adrianza scored two runs off Ramirez with a sacrifice in the second and sixth innings. Robbie Grossman (double) and Joe Mauer (single) each drove in a run during a decisive two-run fifth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Fatal fifth: The Twins only managed to score one run through the first four innings, despite having baserunners in all but one frame. However, they tagged Ramirez with four straight hits to open the fifth, to ultimately take a 3-1 advantage. Buxton led the inning off with a single and moved to scoring position with his 15th stolen base of the season. Grossman followed up with an RBI double and Joe Mauer followed suit with a run-scoring knock through the left side.
"It was really good to see Buck have a good day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said about Buxton, who went 3-for-4. "He squared up a few balls, including the homer. Robbie had a good day, and Joe had a big RBI."
Buxton's blast: Minnesota chased Ramirez out of the game with a leadoff double in the sixth by Eddie Rosario, who later scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrianza. But the biggest blow came against one of the more trusted arms in the Halos' bullpen. Buxton crushed a 1-0 fastball off Blake Parker, to give the Twins a 5-2 lead. It was Buxton's first homer since June 14, snapping a drought of 61 at-bats. Meanwhile, it was a rare blemish by Parker. Entering Tuesday, the right-hander had allowed just one run over his last 25 outings, a span of 23 1/3 frames. More >
"I asked him how he was doing and he said [his knee] was still sleeping. So we had to wait, and once he got moving around, the sensations started to return. And then he flashed his stolen-base ability. So it was good he stayed in the game." -- Molitor, on Eduardo Escobar, who was hit on the knee by a 97-mph fastball from Ramirez in the second, but remained in the game and stole second and scored on a sacrifice fly
"As long as they don't catch it, it can go 405 or 500 feet. It doesn't matter to me. The only thing that matters is putting good swings [on the ball]. It's cool to hit it far, but it's also cool if you just barely hit it out too. It's a home run at the end of the day." -- Pujols, on his longest home run since Statcast™ tracking begain in 2015
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Los Angeles center fielder Cameron Maybin was caught stealing in the eighth inning following a leadoff single. After a review that lasted one minute and 10 seconds, the call was confirmed and he was deemed out. Two batters later, Pujols crushed his 603rd blast of his career to trim the deficit to two runs.
"I've got a really good feel out there on the bases and I just jumped the gun a little bit," Maybin said. "I do a lot of studying, I just went a tick too soon. It's a game of inches, a tick too early can get you caught."
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: Right-hander Parker Bridwell (2-1, 3.95 ERA) is slated to take the mound in the series finale Wednesday at 5:10 p.m. PT at Target Field. He is coming off his first career loss, in which he allowed five runs on 11 hits across six innings. Bridwell is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA on the road this season.
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (10-5, 3.07 ERA) will start against his former team in the series finale on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Santana, named an All-Star for the second time in his career, struggled last time out, giving up seven runs (five earned) against the Royals.