MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Staring down the wrong end of history, the Minnesota Twins would much rather have seen a pitcher other than Jered Weaver, who no-hit them in 2012 and dominated them most recently on July 24.
Yet the Twins did just enough against their nemesis to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-3 on Monday night, ending a 10-game home losing streak and avoiding the worst such skid since the franchise started in Washington in 1901.
“We all know we’ve lost a few ballgames in a row here at home,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The people that showed up here were rooting pretty hard, and our guys were playing pretty hard, too. Big win.”
Only 21,826 were officially registered as paying customers, the smallest crowd since Target Field opened for the 2010 season. Fewer than that actually showed up on a hot, humid night, but they saw Trevor Plouffe go 2 for 3 and drive in the tying and go-ahead runs, and rookie Josmil Pinto hit three doubles.
Casey Fien (4-2) struck out two in a scoreless seventh for the victory, and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 37 chances.
Plouffe’s two-run, two-out double in the fifth inning off Weaver tied the game 3-3, and his bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Cory Rasmus (0-1) in the seventh made it 4-3.
Plouffe, hitting .329 in 21 games since Aug. 18, had a 2-2 count when he dumped a line drive into short center field to score Pinto and Ryan Doumit in the fifth. He entered the game hitting .182 (2 for 11) in 14 plate appearances against Weaver.
“You’ve got a good pitcher on the hill there that’s really had our number,” Plouffe said. “He got two strikes on me, then it’s just battle mode. He’s got that good cutter and changes speeds on it. I was kind of looking for that, trying to lay off the pitch he rides up and in on me. I was able to get enough bat on the ball to get it out there.”
“I made a pretty good pitch to Plouffe there, and he kind of stuck out his bat and hit it up the middle,” Weaver said. “Sometimes you’re going to get guys out and sometimes you’re not.”
Plouffe added a sacrifice fly to medium right field in the seventh. Kole Calhoun made a nice throw home, but Brian Dozier slipped his hand under the tag of catcher Chris Iannetta.
Playing a makeup game for an April 17 rainout, the Angels continue their longest trip of the season — nine games — on Tuesday in Toronto. They also play three-game series at Houston and Oakland.
Weaver made his fourth straight quality start for the Angels, allowing three earned runs, nine hits and two walks in six innings. In their last meeting, the Twins managed just two hits over eight innings in a 1-0 loss on July 24, and then there was the no-hitter on May 2, 2012.
The right-hander entered Monday’s game with an 8-2 record and 3.28 ERA in 14 career starts against Minnesota.
“I started to tighten up there in the third or fourth and got through the sixth, and (manager Mike) Scioscia didn’t want to push me anymore, which is understandable,” Weaver said. “It’s nothing concerning, just the hot-and-humid air and losing a lot of fluids and stuff. It just started to tighten up a little bit, but it’s not a concern.”
Rasmus (0-1) loaded the bases in the seventh on a walk, a fielder’s choice and a single before Plouffe’s sacrifice fly. Pedro Florimon drew a bases-loaded walk off Buddy Boshers to drive in another run, and Doumit capped it with an RBI single in the eighth.
On the way to a third straight 90-loss season, the Twins weren’t eager to set another futility record. They already have broken the team’s season record for strikeouts (1,222 and counting), so avoiding a 114-year record for a home losing streak has to be a relief.
“I knew we hadn’t been playing well, and it’s a concern for us, obviously,” Plouffe said. “We want to win as many games as possible, even if we’re out of (playoff contention). It’s just who we are as a team; we’re not just going to lie down.”
NOTES: After the game, the Angels optioned INF Tommy Field to Triple-A Salt Lake, which starts a playoff series against Omaha on Tuesday. … Angels 2B Howie Kendrick, out since Aug. 6 because of a hyperextended left knee, could be available as soon as Tuesday in Toronto, Scioscia said. Kendrick was injured after colliding with a teammate while chasing a pop fly. … The Angels recalled C John Hester before Tuesday night’s game. … With his RBI double in the fourth, has an RBI in 12 of his past 13 games. … The Twins will use a six-man rotation for the final month of the season, Gardenhire said. They added September callup LHP Scott Diamond to the rotation. … The Twins added Diamond, INF Eduardo Escobar, OF/1B Chris Parmelee, RHP Shairon Martis and C Eric Fryer to the expanded roster after Rochester lost its International League playoff series on Sunday. To make room on the roster, the Twins placed RHP Samuel Deduno (shoulder) and OF Wilkin Ramirez (broken leg). … Twins C Joe Mauer, on the DL because of a concussion suffered Aug. 19, took batting practice.
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