Angels 'pen falls to Twins in extras
Rodriguez blows first save in ninth inning
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Angels are a club that prides itself on solid pitching and stingy defense.
Neither was evident on Wednesday night at the Metrodome as the club scored 10 runs on 13 hits, but wasted the effort with a pair of costly errors and a pitching staff that issued seven walks in addition to 12 hits.
Even Francisco Rodriguez, who had converted his last 22 save opportunities, was unable to preserve a one-run lead.
Add it up and the final result was an ugly, 12-10 loss to the Twins in 10 innings, powered by a pinch-hit, two-run, walk-off homer by Michael Cuddyer off J.C. Romero.
It was a game also in which the Angels blew two leads, including one that extended to five runs, making it the first time in six years they've dropped a game in which they scored at least 10 runs.
"We played a poor ballgame. We didn't deserve to win that game today. We would have been lucky if we won the game," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We have to play better, that's the bottom line. These guys know what it's about. Too many mistakes."
The Angels increased their total of errors to 15, which leads the American League. This comes after committing just 87 last season and tying for the highest fielding percentage in the Majors.
Yet another troubling statistic is unearned runs. By adding five to the total on Wednesday night, the Angels have allowed 17 unearned runs in 15 games this year, after allowing 45 all of last season.
"I think there were too many things happening on the mound that we're struggling with, and certainly some things in the field. We have to get better, no doubt about that," Scioscia said. "This was just a flat-out poor ballgame and if we won tonight's ballgame we were going to be lucky, because we did not play well at all."
The Angels jumped to a quick 2-0 lead on a sac fly by Vladimir Guerrero in the first and Casey Kotchman's groundout in the second, but an error by Maicer Izturis led to three unearned runs as the Twins scored four in the bottom of the second.
Ruben Sierra doubled to lead off the inning and went to third on a groundout by Torii Hunter. Izturis, playing third, then raced down the left-field foul line but dropped a foul pop to keep Justin Morneau alive, and the Twins first baseman singled home Sierra.
Ervin Santana, who started and created some of his own trouble, then walked Tony Batista and Lew Ford to load the bases. Santana fanned Juan Castro, but Izturis could do nothing with Shannon Stewart's infield chopper and Morneau scored. Luis Castillo drove in a pair with a single to center.
But the Angels also were swinging the bats well on Wednesday.
Orlando Cabrera tied the game with his third home run of the year, a two-run shot off Twins starter Kyle Lohse in the third.
Then in the top of the fourth inning Adam Kennedy, who went 4-for-5 on the night, hit a two-run single. Chone Figgins singled home a run and Guerrero drove in another when he eluded a potential double play by legging out a fielder's choice at first and the Angels led, 8-4.
An RBI single by Izturis extended the Angels' lead to 9-4 in the fifth, but the Twins added four more in the sixth. Ford, Stewart and Castro each drove in a run, and an error by Guerrero allowed the Twins to pull within one run.
Mike Redmond hit a sinking liner, but Guerrero ran the ball down only to see it glance off his glove. A catch would have ended the inning.
Kotchman drove in his second run of the night with a single in the seventh, but Hunter got it back with his fourth home run of the year, a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning.
That set up a bottom of the ninth, which saw Rodriguez dig his own hole before nearly escaping but ultimately allowing the tying run.
The right-hander allowed a pinch-hit single to Joe Mauer that Kotchman nearly gloved, but he couldn't quite make the play. Rodriguez then walked Sierra and Hunter singled to right, but Guerrero's strong throw held Mauer at third.
Rodriguez got Morneau to pop up to third and he struck out Batista, but after going 2-2 on Ford, he lost him on an eight-pitch walk. Castro's ground ball ended the inning, but his streak was gone and the momentum had shifted severely to the Twins.
"I missed my location," Rodriguez said. "The bottom line is I didn't get the job done."
Rodriguez seemed reluctant to go with his fastball and relied on his hard slider. He said he has confidence in all of his pitches but recognized the four-pitch walk to Sierra as key to his downfall.
"I don't want to leave something down the middle of the plate in that situation, and I missed by a lot," Rodriguez said. "I have to look forward to a situation tomorrow and hit my spots."
In the 10th, Romero appeared in control. He struck out Stewart looking to open the inning and after a walk to Castillo, the left-hander got a ground ball from Mauer. Cuddyer then drilled an 0-1 pitch to right-center for the game-winner.
"Fellas, I'm going to make a statement. This is not about J.C. or the Twins," said Romero, who was traded by the Twins to the Angels in the offseason after a stormy relationship with Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "Losing [stinks]. It would be the same against the Yankees or Tampa Bay."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.