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Updated: May 1st, 2012 12:15am
Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer hurting as Twins' road trip begins in defeat

Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer hurting as Twins' road trip begins in defeat

by The Associated Press
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ANAHEIM -- C.J. Wilson pitched five-hit ball into the eighth inning, Torii Hunter homered and drove in three runs and the Angels returned from a rough road trip on Monday with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins, who began the game without one of their stars and finished without another.

The skinny

Chris Iannetta also homered in the Angels' second victory in eight games. Albert Pujols had a first-inning double for his first extra-base hit in 11 days but went 1-for-4 while finishing his first month with the Angels without a homer.

Alexi Casilla and Denard Span broke up Wilson's shutout bid with run-scoring hits in the eighth for the Twins, who opened a six-game West Coast road trip with their seventh loss in eight games -- one Joe Mauer sat out because of a sore knee and Justin Morneau departed early with a sore wrist.

The Twins snapped a six-game skid Sunday, but they have the majors' worst record at 6-16.

The Angels returned from a 1-5 road trip in last place in the AL West, already trailing Texas by nine games in their first month with Pujols and Wilson, who has pitched at least six innings in every start.

Wilson (3-2) had four strikeouts in another strong appearance in his native Orange County, but he gave up three runs in the eighth.

LaTroy Hawkins yielded Danny Valencia's RBI single before Scott Downs induced Ryan Doumit's inning-ending grounder, stranding two runners.

Downs, who unseated Jordan Walden as the Angels' closer last week, pitched the ninth to earn his second save.

He hasn't allowed a run in 10 appearances this season as the brightest spot in the Angels' dismal bullpen, which already has blown six saves.

Nick Blackburn (0-3) yielded seven hits and three runs in six innings, coming back solidly from a 30-pitch first inning.

Pujols got his eighth double of the season in the first inning before flying out, striking out and popping to shallow center. Although he hit a beautiful line drive that curled a few feet foul in the fifth inning, he's creeping up on the longest homerless drought of his career -- a 27-game, 107-at-bat slump last season in St. Louis.

He's gone 23 games and 92 at-bats without connecting this year.

Hunter's two run shot in the fourth inning was the third in four games for the veteran slugger, who started the season in an 18-game homerless drought mirroring Pujols' struggles. Hunter has a hit in 11 consecutive games against Minnesota, where he played 11 seasons.

Turning point

Pujols cracked a solid hit to left in the first inning, and the ball bounced over a sliding Josh Willingham for a double. After Kendrys Morales walked, Hunter drove home Pujols with a single to left.

Hunter then scored Morales with his two-run homer in the fourth. Iannetta connected on a solo shot, his third of the year, to deep center in the seventh.

Numbers game

• 3: Hits for 2B Alexi Casilla, who had three hits singled and stole two bases in the third inning but was stranded at third.

• $35 million: Value of the contract extension signed during the Angels' last homestand by SS Erick Aybar.

• 2: Hits in 21 at-bats for Aybar since he signed the deal.

• Series win this season for the Twins, who took two of three when the Angels visited Minneapolis three weeks ago.

Health report

• Morneau went 0-for-2 before getting pulled for a pinch-hitter because of a sore left wrist. He flew back to Minnesota to have it examined after the game.

• Mauer missed his first game of the season to rest his sore left knee. The former MVP and three-time AL batting champion had played every inning so far, but decided the road trip opener was a good day to rest after he got hit by a foul tip in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over Kansas City. Manager Ron Gardenhire expects Mauer to play on Tuesday.

On deck

• Tuesday: @ Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-3, 11.02 ERA) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51).
• Wednesday: @ Angels, 9:05 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-1, 6.89 ERA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.02).
• Off.

© The Associated Press
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