Angels
Twins
2 - 3 Final
  for this game

Gomez sparks Twins past Angels

Apr 1, 2008 - 3:02 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- If Torii Hunter hadn't been in the building, Minnesota Twins fans may have forgotten all about the seven-time Gold Glove winner who spent the last nine full seasons as the team's center fielder.

His replacement, 22-year-old rookie Carlos Gomez, went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases as Minnesota won its season opener, 3-2, against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.

The Dominican speedster has a long way to go before replacing what Hunter meant to the franchise - evidenced by Hunter's loud ovation during pregame introductions - but he showed a glimpse of a promising future.

"We're different players," Gomez said. "I can bring to this team a lot of energy, like we need. I'm excited to play here and I know I can help this team a lot maybe not like Torii, maybe not with home runs, but I know I've got good defense and good speed and I put pressure on the other team. When I am on base, the other team is scared."

Even Hunter, who went an unceremonious 0-for-4 and struck out against Twins closer Joe Nathan in the ninth inning, was impressed with his counterpart.

"That Carlos Gomez looked good," Hunter said. "He's an athlete."

Gomez wasn't the only newcomer in a starting lineup featuring just three members of last year's Minnesota squad to start strong.

Veteran Livan Hernandez (1-0) gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out one and did not walk a batter, throwing just 84 pitches in his eighth career Opening Day start.

Fellow newcomers Delmon Young and Mike Lamb got in on the action as well, with Lamb driving in Young with a one-out single in the fourth inning after Young singled and stole second base.

Lamb was picked up in free agency, while Young and starting second baseman Brendan Harris came to the Twins along with minor league outfielder Jason Pridie for starting pitcher Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

But this contest belonged to the center fielders.

After turning down a three-year, $45-million free agent deal by the Twins, Hunter ultimately signed the richest deal in Angels team history at five years and $90 million.

Minnesota then got rid of two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, trading him to the New York Mets for a four-player package highlighted by Gomez.

The speedster wasted no time endearing himself to the largest crowd at the Metrodome since 1996. Gomez led off the game with a double down the third base line and scored on Joe Mauer's single in the next at-bat.

Gomez was stranded on third base in the third inning after leading off with a bunt single and stolen base, but he scored the go-ahead run from third on Michael Cuddyer's one-out single in the fifth inning after leading off the frame with a walk and stolen base.

"He got us off on the right foot," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You all saw how exciting he can be."

Jered Weaver (0-1), starting for the Angels because of injuries to John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, struggled from the outset thanks mostly to Gomez, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles put its only serious heat on Minnesota in the fifth inning. Casey Kotchman, Howie Kendrick and Mike Napoli all hit first-pitch singles to load the bases with no outs.

Maicer Izturis brought in a run with a double-play grounder and Chone Figgins tied the score at 2-2 with his two-out RBI single, but that was all the trouble Hernandez would face.

"(Izturis) had a pitch to hit, he just rolled over on it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That went a long way to minimize the damage."

Gomez helped get the lead back a half-inning later, and Hernandez, a veteran the Twins are counting on to help replace Santana, Garza and free agent defector Carlos Silva, helped it hold up.

"Livan was fantastic," Gardenhire said. "We all saw a veteran who really knows how to pitch. He handled a lineup that is very good."

Pat Neshek struck out three around a Gary Matthews Jr. double in the eighth inning and Nathan worked around a two-out single in the ninth for the save.

Kotchman went 3-for-4 and Figgins added two hits for the Angels. Harris and Young joined Gomez with two hits each for the Twins.

After the game, Gomez was sentimental about his first Opening Day.

"I was so excited for this opportunity," Gomez said. "When I went downstairs to stretch and get ready for the game, it made me feel like crying I was so happy to be here. I said 'thank you' to the coaches and staff and my teammates."

Hunter was just glad to move on.

"I can't even explain what was going through my mind," Hunter said. "It was weird walking to the other side, being announced from the other side. I'm just glad this day is over. I was all so amped up and excited to be here. We got it out of the way."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA ANGELS 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 9 0
    MINNESOTA 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 x 3 10 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: LAA - JERED WEAVER, DARREN OLIVER (7TH), DARREN O'DAY (8TH) AND MIKE
    NAPOLI
    MIN - LIVAN HERNANDEZ, PAT NESHEK (8TH), JOE NATHAN
    (9TH) AND JOE MAUER

    HOME RUNS: LA

    Mar 31 9:51 PM
  • 50
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Angels 2, Twins 3  Top 9, 0 OutsMar 31 9:40 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MICHAEL CUDDYER SCORED CARLOS GOMEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CUDDYER ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 2
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.000, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Angels 2, Twins 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsMar 31 8:42 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHONE FIGGINS SCORED HOWIE KENDRICK.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C FIGGINS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 2
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: G MATTHEWS (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Angels 2, Twins 2  Top 5, 0 OutsMar 31 8:32 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    MAICER IZTURIS HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING CASEY KOTCHMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H KENDRICK ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: C FIGGINS (.500, 1-FOR-2)

    Angels 1, Twins 2  Top 5, 0 OutsMar 31 8:29 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MIKE LAMB SCORED DELMON YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LAMB ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B HARRIS (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Angels 0, Twins 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsMar 31 8:15 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED CARLOS GOMEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MAUER ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M CUDDYER (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Angels 0, Twins 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsMar 31 7:21 PM
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    Angels vs. TwinsMar 31 12:42 PM
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