Twins outmatched in home series sweep
Cabrera notches first homer as pitching woes continue
MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Minnesota Twins took a step in the right direction with a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox earlier this week, that progress was negated after the Twins were swept Sunday by the Los Angeles Angels.Following a similar storyline from the first two games in the series, Minnesota's pitching was roughed up early and often Sunday, as starter Glen Perkins gave up nine runs on 12 hits against the Angels, who completed the series sweep with a 13-4 victory over the Twins at the Metrodome. When Minnesota's shaky pitching was combined with a red-hot Angels offense, the results weren't pretty. Adding in the 13 runs and 15 hits Los Angeles collected Sunday, Minnesota surrendered a total of 35 runs and 52 hits in the three-game tilt. "We're ready to get this team out of here," Twins outfielder Denard Span said. "It's just a frustrating weekend and a frustrating finish to the weekend," Perkins said. The series finale was especially frustrating for Perkins, who lost for the second time in his past three starts. The lefty had trouble getting the ball down in the zone, and fell victim to an Angels offense clicking on all cylinders. Much like they did to Twins starters Nick Blackburn and Anthony Swarzak the previous two nights, the Halos chipped away at Perkins. Los Angeles collected four singles in the first two innings before a two-run home run by Sean Rodriguez gave them a 3-1 lead in the second. "They chopped singles through the infield, they broke bats," Perkins said. "And then they get the big hit. They did the same things they did all weekend." Kendry Morales added a three-run blast three innings later in what would become a five-run fifth for the Angels. Perkins (6-7) was chased from the game two batters later after allowing nine earned runs and 12 hits, both season highs. All series, it hardly seemed to matter which pitcher Minnesota put on the mound against Los Angeles. The Angels' 52 hits on the weekend were the second highest in team history for a three-game series, next to the 54 hits they collected in August 1988, against the Yankees. "Just a very bad pitching performance on our part through this whole series and a very good offensive show on the other side," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You don't want to take too much away from them because they are hot and they are swinging very, very well. But we sure didn't make a lot of pitches today. "We have to figure out how we can get people out and get the ball where we need to get it. Our starters, it's going to start with them." And while no pitcher found success against the Los Angeles lineup, no Angels hitter seemed to struggle offensively all weekend. Every starter reached base at least once in all three games and five players had two or more hits Sunday, highlighted by Morales' three-hit night. "It seems like whomever they put in the lineup gets two hits," Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said. "[Howard] Kendrick didn't play the first two days and then all of a sudden he comes in and gets hits. Rodriguez hasn't exactly played a lot but he hits a home run. That's a hot team. They have confidence as a team." Morneau added to his American League-leading home run total with a solo blast in the seventh, but his homer did little to cut into the Angels' 9-3 lead. New shortstop Orlando Cabrera also hit a solo homer -- his first as a Twin -- in the fourth inning off Angels starter Jered Weaver (11-3). Joe Mauer came inches shy of his 19th homer of the season when he doubled off the top of the wall in left-center. The play was reviewed but stood as a double. It marked the first time that a play had been reviewed at the Metrodome. "I would have been happy if it was [a home run]," Mauer said. "I also would have been happy if it would have helped us win." The Angels scored four more runs in the eighth -- including Morales' second three-run homer of the game -- which all but sealed the weekend sweep. Minnesota relievers Brian Duensing and Jose Mijares each gave up a pair of runs as the Twins bullpen was taxed yet again following Perkins' short start. "When your starters are going four, five innings and your bullpen is pitching another five innings, it just doesn't work," Gardenhire said. "You can't last doing that." Perhaps what Minnesota's ailing rotation needs is a dose of AL Central competition, which is what the Twins will get when they take to the road for series against Cleveland and Detroit. Minnesota currently trails the Tigers by three games and the Chicago White Sox by 1 1/2. "No one's run away with it yet. It kind of feels like last year, so hopefully if we can start pitching well, I think it starts with that," Perkins said. "Get on a roll, and we can take it from there. Hopefully put some wins together and maybe gain some ground and put some distance between us." While the Twins are 20-12 against division foes this season, the Angels series served as a reminder that Minnesota's success can't just come against AL Central opponents. "Getting back into our division, I think that's when we play our best baseball when we're inside our division," Span said. "If we want to go any further, we're going to have to learn to play outside the division as well. We've got to take care of business on the road now and try to regain some confidence."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.