Twins Daily: Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer each homer twice in win
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The Minnesota Twins managed to overcome a shaky outing by the otherwise reliable Scott Baker on Wednesday night, hitting a season-high five home runs to beat the Los Angeles Angels 11-4. Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer each went deep twice and Jason Kubel added a blast of his own as the Twins evened the series.
Neither starting pitcher will be putting this game on his highlight reel.
Baker lasted just three innings, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk on 75 pitches (55 strikes). He was pulled after barely making it through a marathon bottom of the third in which he gave up all four runs.
Anthony Swarzak came in for Baker in relief and calmed things down, giving up just one hit over the next five innings and getting the win. That saved the overworked Twins bullpen, with Glen Perkins working the ninth to put away the game.
Joel Pineiro didn't fare much better for the Angels (60-51), lasting just 4 1/3 innings after loading the bases for what would be Cuddyer's game-breaking blast.
It snapped a three-game losing slide for the Twins (51-59), who can finish off a .500 road swing with a win in Thursday's series finale. They remain eight games back of surging Detroit (59-51).
After Baker relinquished an early 3-0 lead, the Twins offense responded in the fifth, when Cuddyer busted the game wide open with his fifth career grand slam.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia lifted starting pitcher Pineiro after throwing one pitch to Cuddyer in favor of Hisanori Takahashi.
The move obviously didn't work, as Cuddyer took Takahashi's first offering to deep center field for his 17th home run of the year.
3: Home runs by Delmon Young in three career at-bats against Pineiro.
46: Pitches thrown by Baker in the bottom of the third inning.
• 1B Justin Morneau (neck surgery, wrist) continues to take batting practice at Target Field, per the Star Tribune, and it's still possible he could head out on a rehab assignment before the end of the week.
• 2B Alexi Casilla (pulled hamstring) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 11, but it remains to be seen if he'll be ready to run full speed by then. For now, the combination of Trevor Plouffe, Cuddyer and Matt Tolbert will continue to fill the void at second base.
The Twins and Angels wrap up their three-game set on Thursday (9:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN), with LHP Francisco Liriano (7-8, 4.67 ERA) opposing RHP Dan Haren (11-6, 2.89).
Liriano will look to continue where he left off last Friday in Oakland, where he rebounded from a rough previous outing. Liriano lasted seven innings, giving up just two runs five days after lasting just 2 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on six hits to Detroit.
A three-time All-Star, Haren has been in top form as of late, throwing his third complete game of the season against the Tigers in his last outing. Haren is 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA and 35 strikeouts in his career against the Twins.
• Friday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (7-8, 4.49) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (8-5, 3.21).
• Saturday: vs. White Sox, 6:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (6-8, 4.90) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (4-5, 5.13).
• Sunday: vs. White Sox, 1:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (8-9, 4.50) vs. LHP John Danks (4-9, 3.90).