Garland benefits from Angels bats

Garland benefits from Angels bats

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was quite a night at the Metrodome for the Angels and their erstwhile Cougars, courtesy of John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, Calif.

Two of the school's most illustrious graduates -- Jon Garland and Garret Anderson -- delivered handsomely for manager Mike Scioscia's troupe in a 9-1 drubbing of the Twins on Tuesday that erased any residual sting from the season-opening loss.

Acquired over the winter from the White Sox for shortstop Orlando Cabrera, Garland, Kennedy Class of 1997, was coolly efficient in his debut. He shut down the Twins on six hits, while getting 17 of 24 outs on the ground and requiring only 95 pitches to sail through eight innings.

"That's one of the better starts you can have," Garland said as general manager Tony Reagins, who engineered the bold trade with the White Sox as his first move on the job, beamed in the background.

Lending support to his fellow Kennedy grad, Anderson, Class of '90, busted out the whipping stick with three hits and a pair of RBIs, while running down several drives sent to left by Twins hitters.

"He keeps you in the game [defensively] because he works quick and throws strikes," Anderson said of the 6-foot-6 Garland, twice an 18-game winner in Chicago. "He's getting it and throwing it. There's no waiting around.

"He's got a good angle, coming down from a height of 6-6, 6-7. He hits his spots and has late movement that fools guys. You see a lot of funky swings from right-handers."

Scioscia praised Garland for his tempo and his command of all of his pitches, adding that he didn't consider sending him out for a complete game with a big lead so early in the season.

"I thought he maintained his stuff well," Scioscia said. "I'm sure there are going to be games where he'll be strong enough to finish."

Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless ninth inning, keeping the Twins scoreless and frustrating Justin Morneau (groundout, strikeout) in his first two days in the Major Leagues.

Garland was staked to a 2-0 lead before he threw his first pitch as a member of the Angels. Vladimir Guerrero and Anderson doubled behind a Gary Matthews single against Boof Bonser, and the Angels were on their way to erasing the frustration created by soft-tossing Livan Hernandez in the opener.

"To get those two runs in the first and then have that 1-2-3 first inning, that was the biggest inning of the game for me," Garland said. "It puts them on the defensive. It kind of takes the breath out of them."

Solo blasts by Mike Napoli, leading off the fifth against Bonser, and by Casey Kotchman, in the eighth against Brian Bass, also had that effect on the Twins.

"Nap did a great job," Scioscia said of his catcher. "He did a great job behind the plate and really worked well with Jon. And he squared that ball up as well as you can. That ball was killed to center field."

Guerrero drove in runs in the fifth and eighth with singles, and Maicer Izturis joined Anderson with two RBIs when he singled with the bases loaded in the ninth.

The defense, anchored by Chone Figgins at third base and Izturis at shortstop, was brilliant behind Garland.

Figgins went wide to his left to spear Michael Cuddyer's bullet and initiate an acrobatic double play with a lightning-quick toss to Howard Kendrick at second in the sixth.

"I was hoping for one out there," Garland said. "For [Figgins] to get rid of it as quick as he did, that was impressive. It was fun to watch those guys."

Garland showed how overrated strikeouts can be. He didn't send one hitter grumbling back to the dugout, getting ahead of them consistently, working down in the strike zone, and getting groundouts. He retired 12 of the first 13 men he faced, nine on grounders.

The Twins broke through in the fifth when Adam Everett singled home Delmon Young, who'd singled leading off, but Garland retired Carlos Gomez on a liner to left to leave two runners stranded.

The Angels padded their lead in the seventh against relievers Jesse Crain and Dennys Reyes. Figgins doubled and scored on Anderson's single after an intentional walk to Guerrero.

"I was feeling much better up there tonight," Anderson said. "My rhythm was back in my swing."

In the ninth, Twins right-hander Juan Rincon drilled Torii Hunter in the left elbow with his first pitch of the inning.

"Maybe, maybe not," Hunter said, asked if he thought Rincon was throwing at him. "I kind of have mixed feelings. When he came [to the Twins], we clicked pretty good. Maybe they had a bet on who would hit Torii first."

An ice pack covered his left elbow, but Hunter -- hitless in eight at-bats in the series -- vowed he'd be back out there on Wednesday night.

"We won," he said, grinning. "Ninety-nine to go."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.