Twins’ winning streak snaps against L.A.

Published 3:18 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Minnesota Twins’ offense gave Kyle Gibson a reprieve, scoring five runs in the second inning to put him back at square one after he had surrendered five in the first. It didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t his night.

Gibson didn’t make it past the second inning, giving up a two-run homer to Mike Trout in the bottom half, and the Twins’ season-best four-game winning streak ended with an 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night despite back-to-back homers by Josh Willingham and Kendrys Morales against C.J. Wilson.

“One of the most frustrating parts of it was that we go out and put up five runs, and then I go out and give up two more and give the momentum right back to them,” Gibson said.

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“I just didn’t really have a good feel out there from pitch one in the bullpen. It felt like I was searching the whole time. It was just one of those weird nights. I didn’t feel like I was repeating my delivery. It was pretty clear that I wasn’t very sharp. I was leaving sliders over the middle, sinkers up — I mean, it was a confusing, frustrating night overall.”

Gibson (6-6) threw 50 pitches in his 25th career start, equaling his shortest outing in the big leagues. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs, four hits and two walks, after coming in with a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings.

“He just kind of got overwhelmed,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They jumped him early. He misfired and put men on base and couldn’t make a pitch after that. I don’t think he had command of too much. It looked like his ball was a little bit flatter tonight. We were hoping to run him back out there and see if he could find it a little bit and go a couple more innings for us. That didn’t work out, either.”

Wilson (8-6) barely navigated through five innings and left with a 7-6 lead after allowing six runs and nine hits. The left-hander came in 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his previous six outings at Angel Stadium.

Gibson found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam after 16 pitches and failed to retire any of his first six batters — although Albert Pujols reached on a fielder’s choice when shortstop Danny Santana fielded his grounder deep in the hole and Trout beat the rookie’s throw to second.

Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick both came up later that inning with the bases loaded and hit two-run singles. Erick Aybar, who was hit by a pitch, scored the fifth run on a double-play grounder by C.J. Cron.

But Minnesota quickly pulled even. Willingham, who has eight homers in his last 15 games against the Angels, drove an 0-2 pitch to center field that barely eluded Trout’s glove — which was about 3 feet above the fence. Morales followed with his first homer as a Twin, sending a 3-2 pitch into the lower seats in the left field corner. It was the second time in Wilson’s last three starts that he served up back-to-back homers.

No. 9 hitter Sam Fuld kept the rally going with a two-out RBI single, Santana drove in another run with a double and Brian Dozier tied it with an RBI single.

“After the two home runs, it was like paper cuts to death,” Wilson said. “Obviously, Willingham and Morales hit the ball really hard, but a lot of the other hits were in-between guys or under the coverage.”

Trout’s 17th homer was Los Angeles’ last hit until David Freese’s one-out single in the sixth. The Twins got a run closer in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Morales, but Kole Cahoun hit a bases-loaded sac fly in the eighth against Matt Guerrier and Joe Smith got three outs for his sixth save.

NOTES: Gibson lasted just two innings on May 10 at Detroit, allowing six runs in a 9-3 loss. … Joe Mauer, who won three AL batting titles as a catcher and an league MVP award in 2009, is hitting .260 in his first season as a full-time first baseman. Only two of his 22 RBIs have come on the road. … Mauer and C Kurt Suzuki each entered the game 2 for 22 against Wilson. Mauer was 1 for 3 this time against the two-time All-Star and Suzuki was 0 for 3.