Jerome Williams holds Twins offense to only three hits in shutout
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jerome Williams earned his second major league shutout with a three-hitter and Torii Hunter homered for the fourth time in five games and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Williams (2-1) threw 109 pitches, striking out six and retiring 18 of his last 19 batters to finish in an economical 2 hours, 10 minutes. It was his third complete game in 81 career starts. His other shutout was on June 27, 2003 with the Giants, a seven-hitter against the Oakland Athletics at San Francisco in his sixth big league start.
The 30-year-old right-hander from Honolulu faced only one batter over the minimum before walking Denard Span with two out in the ninth. Alexi Casilla grounded into a double play after Span opened the game with a single, and Span was picked off first base to end the third. Span's two hits extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
Howie Kendrick also went deep against struggling Francisco Liriano, but Albert Pujols went 0 for 4 with a run-scoring groundout. The three-time NL MVP and two-time home run champ, who had 445 in his previous 11 seasons with St. Louis and hit a career-best 49 in 2006, has gone a career-worst 31 games and 125 at-bats since his last one on Sept. 22, 2011.
Pujols, who signed a 10-year, $240 million contract in December as a free agent, hit seven homers during spring training - including a tape-measure shot at Dodger Stadium that was estimated at 441 feet in his final swing of the exhibition schedule.
Liriano (0-4) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander surrendered five earned runs in each of his previous five appearances, including a six-batter relief stint in his final outing of last season after missing most of the final five weeks with a strain in the back of his left shoulder.
Liriano has given up 24 earned runs, 32 hits and 16 walks over 21 2-3 innings in his five starts, along with a 9.97 ERA. He would be 0-5 this year if the Twins hadn't turned a 6-0 deficit into a 10-9 victory against the Angels on April 12 at Target Field - leaving him with a no-decision.
5.28: Liriano's ERA in 23 starts since his no-hitter on May 3 of last year.
17: Consecutive batters retired by Williams until Span's walk in the ninth.
96: Consecutive at-bats without a home run for Pujols to start the season.
First baseman Justin Morneau, who left Monday night's series opener after six innings because of a sore left wrist, had an MRI in Minnesota and learned there was no structural damage - only some fluid and inflammation. The 2006 AL MVP is expected to rejoin his teammates on Wednesday before the team heads to Seattle.
Catcher Joe Mauer, who missed his first game of the season Monday after taking a foul tip off his left knee on Sunday, was Minnesota's designated hitter and went 0 for 3. The Twins, dealing with the uncertainty of Mauer's knee, recalled Drew Butera from Triple-A Rochester for insurance and designated third baseman Sean Burroughs for assignment.
• Wednesday: @ Angels, 9:05 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-1, 6.89 ERA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.02).
• Off day