Plouffe Rallies Late But Twins Fall to Halos

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The Minnesota Twins were looking for a victory in game two of the four game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.  After a Glen Perkins loss on Thursday, the Twins were looking for a bounce back night from their bullpen.  A rare solid start from Ricky Nolasco provided the opportunity,

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Minnesota got behind early tonight with Trevor Plouffe making an error in the first inning.  On a ball hit by Albert Pujols, Plouffe’s error allowed Kole Calhoun to score from third, following a leadoff triple from the Angels right fielder.  Plouffe has really transformed his defensive prowess at third base in 2014, so the error was rather uncharacteristic.

The Twins would answer back quickly however, with Kennys Vargas once again delivering the blow.  Vargas got a pitch he could drive, and lifted a ball deep enough to Mike Trout in center field, allowing Danny Santana to tag up and score on the play.  After 1, the Twins and Angels were tied 1-1.

Much like the first, the second and fourth inning also featured punching and counter punching.  In the 2nd inning, Chris Iannetta singled driving in David Freese for the Angels.  The Twins answered back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an Oswaldo Arcia home run to right field.  In the fourth inning, a Trout single plated Calhoun, while an Aaron Hicks single scored Josmil Pinto for the Twins.

It was in the bottom of the 6th inning that the Twins finally had their first lead of the game.  Hicks once again singled and drove in Pinto giving Minnesota a 4-3 advantage.

The 8th inning spelled disaster for the Twins however.  With Nolasco removed after five innings, while striking out five and giving up only two earned runs, the bullpen melted down.  A combination of eight relievers were used by Ron Gardenhire.  Only Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, and Jared Burton pitched a complete inning, while Brian Duensing and Casey Fien gave up three runs combined while recording no outs.  Heading to the 9th, it was 6-4 in favor of the Angels.

Doing the damage in the 8th for the Halos was the familiar faces of Calhoun and Trout.  A double by Calhoun plated Brennan Boesch and Tony Campana while a Trout double then brought home Calhoun.  The top two batters in the Angels lineup, Calhoun and Trout, burned the Twins tonight going a combined 5-12 with four runs scored and four runs batted in.

Answering back strong though were the Twins, and in the bottom of the 9th inning.  With their backs against the wall, down to their final out and Danny Santana on second with Brian Dozier on second, Trevor Plouffe stepped to the plate.  Off Angels closer Huston Street, Plouffe doubled to deep left scoring both runners and knotting the game at 6 all.

In the extra frame, the Angels fought right back, as an Erick Aybar sacrifice fly plated Calhoun to put the Angels up 7-6.  Although Huston Street blew the save, he was awarded with the win, further corroborating the meaningless statistic.  Kevin Jepsen slammed the door on the Twins and the Halos took the win by a tally of 7-6.

Check out the full box score here.

Minnesota will look to bounce back tomorrow against the Angels in game three of the series.  Phil Hughes is set to take on Cory Rasums for the Angels with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10pm central time.  Tomorrow, even if the Twins lose, a Glen Perkins bobblehead day makes the price of admission well worthwhile.

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