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Mauer's inside-the-park homer lifts Twins

Jul 22, 2007 - 3:38 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Joe Mauer hit a three-run inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday.

After the Angels scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie the score, Minnesota fought back against reliever Scot Shields (2-3) in the bottom half.

With runners on the corners and a full count, Mauer hit a deep fly ball to the wall in center field. Gary Matthews Jr. crashed in the wall trying to make the catch, but crumpled to the turf as the ball bounced away, allowing Mauer to race around the bases and score without a throw.

"When I first hit it, I was hoping it would go over the fence so he wouldn't have a chance at it," Mauer said. "He had to go a long way for it, and I'm glad it did what it did."

Jason Bartlett hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and Torii Hunter did the same to lead off the seventh, helping Minnesota to its second straight victory and third in a row over Los Angeles.

The Twins will try to sweep the three-game series on Sunday.

Minnesota also got a stellar outing from starter Boof Bonser, who gave up a season-high 12 hits in his only other start against the Angels this season.

Bonser had a three-hit shutout through seven innings but failed to get his first win since June 10 against Washington.

"That's the best location he's had with the fastball all year," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately we couldn't hold Bonser's lead. He sure deserved to win, but it's all about the team here."

The Angels finally got to Bonser in the eighth inning when Chone Figgins hit a two-out RBI triple past the diving Jason Kubel in left field.

"Not the most advised thing we've ever seen with a 2-0 lead, but he was trying," Gardenhire said. "That's one of those plays where you let it drop and keep it where it's at."

Orlando Cabrera followed with a single off reliever Pat Neshek - who entered the game with a .131 opponents batting average - to plate Figgins and tie the game at 2-2, keeping Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver from his third loss in his last four starts.

Cabrera was caught stealing to end the inning, allowing Neshek (5-1) to get the win following Mauer's heroics. Joe Nathan worked around a one-out single in the ninth inning for his 20th save in 22 chances.

The inside-the-park home run was the first of Mauer's career, and the first for the Twins since Hunter accomplished the feat on July 26, 2001 at Oakland.

Shields has allowed five earned runs in his last three appearances. His ERA has jumped from 1.66 to 2.50 in that stretch.

"His command wasn't as crisp today," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But this guy's been as consistent as any reliever in baseball this year. You're just not going to get it done every time out."

Bonser snapped out of an extended slump, but the righthander is still 0-4 in his last seven starts and has won just one game since the beginning of June. He had allowed at least three earned runs in eight straight starts with an ERA of 6.08 since the end of May entering Saturday's game.

"All my pitches were there for me," Bonser said. "I had great location and that's the main thing. I kept the ball down and that's the name of the game."

The Twins had few chances against Weaver, but couldn't take advantage of two great scoring opportunities.

Justin Morneau led off the second inning with a double and stopped at third base when Hunter followed with a single to left field. But with runners on the corners and no one out, Weaver managed to escape unscathed. He got Kubel to bounce back to the mound, struck out designated hitter Garrett Jones and induced an infield pop-up from right fielder Darnell McDonald.

Jones bounced back from his strikeouts in his next at-bat with one out in the fifth inning, tripling to deep left-center with Matthews playing the lefthander to pull the ball. But McDonald struck out looking on four pitches, and Nick Punto fouled off six pitches before harmlessly grounding out to second base.

The Angels' offense was just as futile against Bonser, as Maicer Izturis was stranded at third base in the third inning after leading off with a ground-rule double for Los Angeles' best scoring chance through the first seven innings.

The only other hit Bonser allowed to the next 11 batters was a high double to Garret Anderson with two outs in the sixth inning that Hunter lost in the Metrodome roof.

Minnesota finally started the scoring in the sixth, as Bartlett hit his third home run this season and second against Los Angeles. It was the first home run allowed by Weaver in 30 2/3 innings, a stretch of five starts. Bartlett had not homered since June 28 against Toronto.

Hunter led off the seventh inning and hit the first pitch he saw to the seats in left-center, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Weaver lasted seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He is 0-2 in his last four starts despite a 1.72 ERA in that stretch.

"Its just a little bad luck. Things haven't gone my way, but I'm not going to get frustrated about it," Weaver said. "I'm just going to go out and pitch my game and one of these days we'll snap out of it and get a good run going like we had in the first half."

The Angels are 3-8 in their last 11 road games and have lost five of their last six games overall.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA ANGELS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 7 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 x 5 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: LAA - JERED WEAVER, SCOT SHIELDS (8TH), DUSTIN MOSELEY (8TH) AND
    JOSE MOLINA, MIKE NAPOLI (8TH)
    MIN - BOOF BONSER, PAT NESHEK (8TH), JOE NATHAN (9TH)
    AND JOE MAUER

    Jul 21 9:46 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN BY JOE MAUER (5) TO
    CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN THE 8TH OFF SCOT SHIELDS SCORED LUIS CASTILLO
    AND JASON BARTLETT.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 2, MINNESOTA 5
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.292, 1-FOR-3)

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 21 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ORLANDO CABRERA SCORED CHONE FIGGINS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, O CABRERA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 2
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: V GUERRERO (.324, 0-FOR-3)

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 21 9:11 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CHONE FIGGINS SCORED ROBB QUINLAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C FIGGINS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: O CABRERA (.310, 0-FOR-3)

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 21 9:06 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TORII HUNTER (20) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 7TH OFF JERED WEAVER.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0, MINNESOTA 2
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 21 8:54 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON BARTLETT (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF JERED WEAVER.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0, MINNESOTA 1
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MAUER (.304, 0-FOR-2)

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 21 8:43 PM
  • 5
    roots
    2buthy5 Added 5 roots

    Angels vs. TwinsJul 14 2:42 AM