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Updated: May 9th, 2012 9:53pm
Pavano hit hard in shortest outing since July as Twins fall to Angels

Pavano hit hard in shortest outing since July as Twins fall to Angels

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- After taking one step forward with a win on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins took at least one step back in Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The skinny

Carl Pavano was hit hard in his shortest outing since last July. He gave up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits while striking out only one, and once again his fastball velocity sat mostly between 85 and 86 mph.

After a 1-2-3 first inning and a scoreless second, Pavano surrendered three runs in the third on an RBI double by Mike Trout and an RBI single by Albert Pujols. Alberto Callaspo also scored on a groundball by Kendrys Morales when first baseman Joe Mauer's throw to second base bounced off the back of Pujols allowing everybody to reach safely.

Two innings later Pavano allowed back-to-back doubles by Trout and Alberto Callaspo with nobody out, which prompted manager Ron Gardenhire to summon Alex Burnett, who allowed another RBI single to Pujols -- a run that was charged to Pavano.

The Angels added another run in the sixth when Mike Trout chopped a ball off Alex Burnett's leg, resulting in an RBI infield single.

"I wasn't executing many pitches down in the zone," Pavano said. "I left a lot of balls up. I left breaking balls and changeups that were hit a long way. I got a couple of double-play balls. But really couldn't get the momentum or consistency in my corner as far as making better pitches."

The Twins (8-22) scored on Danny Valencia's RBI groundout in the fifth inning and on a two-out solo home run by Josh Willingham in the sixth inning, his sixth of the season.

Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (1-6) allowed only two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out one in 7 1/3 innings.

Twins left-hander Brian Duensing walked one in three scoreless innings in relief.

Angels manager Mike Sciocia was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.

The Twins haven't won back-to-back games since April 12.

"It's not a good record. There's no doubt about it," Pavano said. "And that's reality. But there's also another side of reality that this is an 162-game season and you have to keep working and bust your ass and come into the field wanting to get better as an individual and as a team.

"We can't lose that focus no matter what our record is. We still have a season to finish. Right now our record is irrelevant. We need to go out and play better baseball. And that's the bottom line."

Turning point

The Twins once again squandered a chance to take an early lead.

Willingham led off the second inning with a double, and Ryan Doumit walked to put two on with nobody out. But Valencia flied weakly to right field, and Erik Komatsu bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The Angels capitalized immediately, scoring three runs in the top of the third inning.

Numbers game

5: Combined double plays.

62: The number of pitches thrown by Pavano, which marks the fewest number of pitches he has thrown since April 9, 2009 when he gave up nine earned runs on six hits and three walks in one inning (39 pitches) for the Cleveland Indians.

5.02: Pavano's ERA.

44.8%: Pavano's groundball rate, which would be his lowest since 2009.

Health report

• The Associated Press reports Justin Morneau saw an orthopedic specialist in Cleveland about his sore wrist and was told the discomfort was only post-surgery inflammation. He received a cortisone shot and could return for the Twins' road trip next week.

On deck

Thursday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. RHP Jason Marquis (2-1, 5.40) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-2, 2.83)
Friday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (0-4, 6.84) vs. RHP Kyle Drabek (2-3, 3.34)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd