Kubel makes Angels pay for intentional walk, as Twins win 7-2
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins pounded the Los Angeles Angels 7-2 on Friday night, and for the second time in eight days, an opposing team's decision to intentionally walk Joe Mauer proved costly with Jason Kubel lurking.
In the bottom of the third inning, with the Twins already leading 1-0, J.J. Hardy hit a leadoff double to deep right field. Angels starter Dan Haren then got Denard Span to fly out to center field before striking out Orlando Hudson.
With two outs and first base open, the Angels elected to intentionally walk Mauer -- shades of August 12 in Chicago, when Alexi Casilla led off the seventh inning with a double before Gavin Floyd mowed down Span and Hudson on strikeouts. The White Sox elected to walk Mauer intentionally, and Kubel made them pay with a three-run bomb to put the Twins up 6-1.
Friday's outcome was no different. Kubel blasted a hanging curveball into the upper deck in right field for a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 4-0.
"I'd do the same thing," Kubel said. "You got guys on first and second, maybe get a force out and not have to face the hottest hitter in the league, or the best hitter in the league, so I'd do the same thing, but I try not to let it affect me. It is rewarding."
The Twins added three more runs in the fourth inning, with help from Jim Thome's second triple of the season -- a towering flyball to left field that dropped between Peter Bourjos and Juan Rivera. Delmon Young's single to center scored Thome from third, and Rivera would then lose a Valencia pop-up in the sky for a double, allowing Young to move to third.
Hardy followed with a sacrifice fly, and Span added an RBI single, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead.
Brian Duensing (7-1, 1.72) turned in yet another great pitching performance. He gave up just one earned run on seven hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking nobody. Duensing has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any of his six starts since replacing Nick Blackburn on July 23.
Haren's final line was not so impressive -- seven innings, seven earned runs, 11 hits, three strikeouts and a walk.
Torii Hunter, who was impressed in his first visit to Target Field, went 1-for-4 with a single.
RHP Kevin Slowey (11-5, 4.22) is scheduled to face RHP Trevor Bell (1-3, 5.40) on Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m.