Guerrero, Anderson help Angels romp
By Dave Campbell
MINNEAPOLIS — Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson got the Angels going, and the successful swinging didn’t stop. Jon Garland was given quite a welcome.
Guerrero and Anderson had six hits and five RBIs between them, and Garland breezed through his first start for Los Angeles with a 9-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
"I’m not going to assume that’s going to happen every time, but if it does I would absolutely love it," said Garland, who went eight innings and watched his team hammer out 15 hits.
Torii Hunter had another 0-for-4 night for the Angels against his old team, reaching base only when a ninth-inning pitch from Juan Rincon banged off his elbow. He was the only starter without a hit, but the two guys next to him in the field, and in front of him in the lineup, did plenty of damage.
Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs, and Anderson went 3-for-5 and drove in two. Mike Napoli and Casey Kotchman each hit solo homers.
The real star, arguably, was Garland, who allowed just six hits and one walk. His acquisition in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for shortstop Orlando Cabrera proved prescient when top starters John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar wound up on the disabled list near the end of spring training.
Anderson offered praise for Garland’s sinkerball style, which led to 17 groundball outs and helped retire 12 of the first 13 Twins he faced. By that time, Garland had a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth.
"Players stay in the game a little bit more when you have a pitcher throwing strikes and keeping the ball down," Anderson said. "You have to be ready."
Stifled by Livan Hernandez in the opener, Los Angeles bounced back with three hard-hit doubles in the first seven at-bats against Boof Bonser. Guerrero and Anderson went back-to-back with theirs for a 2-0 lead in the first.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he thought Bonser "did pretty doggone good" after the early trouble. Guerrero, to be fair, is a tough out for anyone.
"Goodness gracious, I think he threw a ball almost in the dirt and the guy got a base hit on it," Gardenhire said.
Hunter messed up in the field, too, on an ultimately harmless — but clearly catchable — sinking liner by Jason Kubel in the second. Hunter tried to make a shoe-top grab, but the ball popped out at the last second and was ruled a single.
This came about a half-hour after Gardenhire presented the popular center fielder with his seventh Gold Glove award in a brief pregame ceremony that prompted another standing ovation.
Afterward, Hunter acknowledged some weariness from all the extra attention.
"It’ll all fall into place for me," he said.
The Twins could’ve used some extra fielding practice, too. In the fifth, Chone Figgins hit a harmless grounder to new shortstop Adam Everett, whose threw sailed wide of first base for an error. Guerrero drove in the fourth run with a two-out single two batters later.
Everett, signed by the Twins explicitly for his noted defense, made amends in the bottom of the inning by driving in Minnesota’s only run off Garland with a two-out single.
Delmon Young made a late break on a line drive hit to left by Figgins, and the ball sailed over his head for a double in the seventh against Jesse Crain. Figgins scored on a two-out single by Anderson.
Bonser completed six innings without a walk, allowing eight hits and four runs — three of them earned. He struck out four, but it wasn’t the kind of start he hoped for after a winter devoted to better nutrition that caused him to drop about 30 pounds from his 6-foot-4 frame to settle in around 235.
"I was all jittery and happy and just letting it ride," Bonser said, adding: "I was just happy to get the first one out of the way. I settled down afterwards and got going."
The bullpen never got going. Crain gave up the fifth run in his first appearance since last May, coming off shoulder surgery. Brian Bass made his major league debut and gave up two more in the ninth; one was unearned due to a wild relay throw to second by Harris that could have started a double play.
Rincon gave up two more still on a two-run single smashed up the middle by Maicer Izturis that nearly hit him in the leg to make it 9-1.
Hunter offered a "politically correct" answer to the question about whether he thought his former teammate plunked him on purpose after a rough night for the Twins staff.
"I don’t know what was going on. He looked me and winked or whatever. It probably got away from me, hopefully," Hunter said.
Rincon preached his innocence.
"I really obviously didn’t want to hit him," he said, "if somebody’s expecting me to say something like that. But you know, it’s a part of the game. He’s on the opposite team now."
Notes: Young went 3-for-4 and scored Minnesota’s only run. He’s 5-for-8, but cleanup hitter Justin Morneau is 0-for-7. ... Los Angeles reliever Scot Shields passed his simulated game test and is expected to come off the disabled list this weekend after a minor-league rehab appearance. ... Backup infielder Matt Tolbert made his major league debut for the Twins in the eighth and grounded out to third. ... The Angels have won 158 straight games when leading after eight innings, the longest current streak in the majors. The last time they blew it and lost in the ninth was nearly two years ago, here in Minnesota on April 19, 2006. ... The homerless Twins haven’t gone two games without going deep to start a season since 2000.