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Updated: August 2nd, 2011 11:31pm
Twins Daily: Trumbo's blast, Santana's gem drop Twins further back

Twins Daily: Trumbo's blast, Santana's gem drop Twins further back

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Due mostly to Mark Trumbo's mammoth home run off Brian Duensing and a lights-out performance by Ervin Santana, the Minnesota Twins fell eight games out of first place on Tuesday night for the first time since July 7 with a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The skinny

Needing a win to keep pace with the Detroit Tigers, the Twins fell flat against Angels' right-hander Santana, who, coming off a no-hitter in his last start, allowed only one run on six hits in nine innings of work.

The Twins' only run came on an RBI groundout by Jim Thome.

Twins starter Duensing was roughed up for the second time in his last three starts, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. Former Twin Torii Hunter took Duensing deep with a solo shot in the fifth inning -- his 14th of the season.

Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel each tallied two hits in four at-bats for the Twins, but that was the extent of the team's offense against Santana and company.

Turning point

With the game tied 1-1, Duensing walked Vernon Wells to start the bottom of the fourth inning, and Howie Kendrick followed with a double to right field, putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Duensing battled back to put Trumbo in an 0-2 hole, but the left-hander threw a fastball belt-high over the plate, and Trumbo launched it into the rocks behind the center-field fence to put the Angels up 4-1.

The Twins had a chance to respond in the next half inning when Delmon Young and Tsuyoshi Nishioka reached base to start the frame. But Denard Span bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, and Trevor Plouffe grounded out weakly to shortstop to end the threat.

Numbers game

1: The number of times Span reached base in his first game back from a concussion.

4.93: The Twins' team ERA since June 25.

121: Pitches thrown by Santana.

Health report

• 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 August 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, Michael Cuddyer and Matt Tolbert will continue to fill the void at second base.

On deck

The Twins and Angels do battle again Wednesday (9:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when right-hander Scott Baker (8-6, 2.86) faces right-hander Joel Piniero (5-5, 4.91).

Baker continued his career season with seven solid innings against Texas last weekend, allowing only two earned runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking nobody. Baker owns a 1.31 ERA with 42 strikeouts to only eight walks in his last seven starts (48 innings). In his only start against the Angels this season, Baker pitched seven shutout innings, striking out six and allowing only six baserunners.

Known as a groundball specialist, Pineiro induced at least 10 groundballs in each of his first 13 starts this season, but hasn't reached double figures in any of his last four. Fortunately for the right-hander, the Twins struggle mightily against groundball pitchers, so Wednesday night might be a good opportunity for him to get back on track.

Coming up

• Thursday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-8, 4.67) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 3.93)
• 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)

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