MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Twins recorded their first shutout of the season against the Angels on Tuesday, they were hoping it could create some momentum for a starting rotation that has struggled so far this season.
But instead it was more of the same for Minnesota, as right-hander Carl Pavano turned in his shortest outing of the season, and the Twins were stymied by right-hander Ervin Santana in a 6-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday at Target Field.
Pavano lasted just four-plus innings and couldn't help the Twins from falling to a Major League-worst 8-22 on the year.
"It's not a good record," Pavano said. "There's no doubt about it. And that's reality. But there's also another side of reality that this is a 162-game season and you have to keep working and bust your butt 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."
Pavano was hit hard, allowing five runs (four earned) on a season-high 10 hits. It could've been worse, however, as he induced three double plays to mitigate the damage.
"After getting shut out yesterday, we came out today and just tried to be aggressive as a team," said Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who went 3-for-4. "Last time we faced Pavano here, he pitched really well against us, and he had us off balance, had us out in front a little bit. Today, guys did a great job of making sure they got the ball up and staying through the middle of the field."
Pavano was particularly hit hard in the third inning, when the Angels tagged him for three runs. Mike Trout laced an RBI double and came around to score on a single from Albert Pujols. Then on a Kendrys Morales grounder, first baseman Joe Mauer tried to turn a double play -- but the throw hit Pujols in the back for a run-scoring error.
Los Angeles added two more runs in the fifth, as Pavano was pulled after giving up back-to-back doubles to Trout and Alberto Callaspo to open the inning. Right-hander Alex Burnett came in relief and promptly surrendered an RBI single to Pujols.
It was a welcome sight for Santana, who had received only three runs of support all season entering the game. The Angels were held scoreless in his previous five starts.
"It was great," Pujols said. "He's been pitching the ball well, and it's great to give run support to any of our starting pitchers. That can give them a little bit of cushion."
The Twins answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth, when Ryan Doumit tripled and scored on an RBI groundout from Danny Valencia. But they stranded two runners, as Denard Span grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.
The Angels scored an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single from Trout, which was his third hit of the night.
Josh Willingham hit a homer off Santana in the sixth after Vernon Wells made an impressive running catch in left field to rob Mauer of extra bases.
It was Willingham's team-leading sixth homer, but it simply wasn't enough for the Twins, who lost the season series to the Angels, 3-6, and have just three wins over their last 16 games.
"It was one of those nights where it didn't work out for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We fell behind early and had to fight our way through it."