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Calhoun HR helps Halos foil Twins' Santana
By Rhett Bollinger and Shane Jackson
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rookie right-hander Parker Bridwell tossed six scoreless innings, while Kole Calhoun homered and took part in a run-scoring double steal to lead the Angels to a 2-1 win on Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep at Target Field.
Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, facing his former team, took a hard-luck loss, throwing his Major League-leading fourth complete game of the year. No team in the Majors has more than three complete games, and it's also twice as many as any pitcher in the Majors. The 2017 All-Star gave up a solo homer to Calhoun in the first, while the Angels executed a double steal to bring home a run in the sixth. Santana gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out five, falling to 10-6 with a 2.99 ERA.
"It was a little frustrating, but at the same time you have to give credit to the other team," Santana said. "We tried to score runs, but sometimes you try to do too much. But we won the series, which is the most important thing."
Bridwell, making his fifth career start, was solid, scattering four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. He improved to 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA, pitching out of several jams.
"He had to work to get through some innings, he had to work for some outs, but he made pitches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Outside of maybe the walks, that's a good outing. If he pitches more efficient, maybe we will see him get into that seventh inning consistently."
Minnesota didn't score until the seventh against reliever David Hernandez. Byron Buxton started the rally with a leadoff single before stealing second and scoring on a single from Brian Dozier. Miguel Sano singled, with Dozier advancing to third with two outs, but Max Kepler grounded back to Hernandez to end the inning.
Cam Bedrosian pitched a perfect eighth, and Bud Norris followed with a flawless ninth for his 12th save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Double trouble: The Angels pulled off a double steal with two outs in the sixth, as Calhoun broke for second with Maybin at third and catcher Jason Castro threw to second baseman Dozier, whose throw home wasn't in time to get Maybin. It gave the Angels an insurance run, and was pivotal with Yunel Escobar striking out later in the at-bat to end the inning.
"We didn't execute well enough on the first-and-third," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We didn't lose it on that because we had other opportunities, but it was a one-run game. So that was a big point."
Cal-boom: Calhoun continued to torment the Twins, and of his 12 homers this season, five have come against Minnesota in seven games. He jumped all over a first-pitch fastball, launching it a projected 394 feet to right field, per Statcast™. It had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph and a launch angle of 35 degrees. Calhoun is now batting .500 with a 1.077 slugging percentage in 26 at-bats against the Twins this year.
"You would like it to be more than one run. We will take it," Scioscia said. "But I wouldn't say that early run is any comfort level. You have to keep going, we just did a really good job on the mound and held those guys down tonight."
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup with lower back spasms and wasn't available to pinch-hit late in the game. Mauer said he suffered the injury while running the bases in the first inning on Tuesday but that he expects to return soon.
"It's no fun," Mauer said. "But we'll get through it. I'm just paying for it now. I'm hoping to be back real soon."
Escobar became the first Angels player to be ejected in 2017. He first voiced his displeasure with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings following a checked swing that was called a strike to start the at-bat in the sixth. Eddings later gave him the hook after Escobar continued arguing following an inning-ending strikeout. Though it was his first of the year, it was the 13th time in Escobar's career that he had been tossed.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: After an off-day on Thursday, Los Angeles will open up a three-game set at Texas for the final series before the All-Star break. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-9, 4.42 ERA) is slated to start the series opener at 5:05 PT on Friday. Nolasco spun the team's first shutout of the season in his last start. More >>
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.44 ERA) is set to start the series opener against the Orioles on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Berrios struggled his last time out, allowing five runs in five innings against the Royals. More >>