ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is quickly getting back into the swing of things.
Sano, who missed the first 41 games due to a right heel laceration, hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Twins to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Sano has homered twice in the past three games. All four of his hits since his return last Thursday have been for extra bases.
“For me and the team it was pretty good to do that in a tight game,” Sano said. “I’m not completely settled in but I have worked hard to get back.”
Eddie Rosario singled with one out in the eighth before Sano hit Ty Buttrey’s fastball over the wall in right-center. Sano’s go-ahead shot came after the Angels tied it in the seventh on Tommy La Stella’s two-out single to score Brian Goodwin.
“It was just a good swing. He stayed through the ball well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He has that kind of power and strength that regardless of where you play him he drives it.”
It is the first home run Buttrey (2-2) has allowed in 40 relief innings over two seasons. The 37 consecutive games that Buttrey had not allowed a home run is the longest stretch to start a major league career in Angels history.
“Even good pitchers give up runs once in a while,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “He has been a horse out of the pen and he gave up a home run to a guy who hits home runs. Unfortunately it happened in a tie game.”
Taylor Rogers (1-0) allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings and Blake Parker got his eighth save.
Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi allowed three hits and struck out six in six innings. He was trying to become the first Twins pitcher to win seven consecutive starts since Kyle Gibson won his last six in 2017 and first in 2018.
La Stella had three hits for the Angels, who have dropped three of four to the Twins this season.
Luis Arraez had three hits for Minnesota and scored the game’s first run in the second when he came home on Ehire Adrianza’s fielder choice.
The Angels suffered what could be two significant injuries in the eighth inning. Shohei Ohtani took a ball off his right ring finger while swinging at a third strike. Andrelton Simmons then got tripped up at the bag at first while trying to beat out an infield hit and sprained his left ankle.
Ausmus said both players had X-rays and they were negative. Ohtani will be seen by the trainers before Tuesday’s game.
Simmons’ injury could keep him out for an extended period. He will have an MRI on Tuesday to assess the extent of the sprain.
“It seems like the injury to Simmons might be more dire,” Ausmus said. “There’s no fracture, which is good but we’ll still wait and see.”
EFFECTIVE FROM THE PEN
This was the fifth straight game the Angels have used an opener in front of Félix Peña. The right-hander has a 2.73 ERA when coming out of the bullpen with 26 strikeouts and two walks. He has gone at least five innings in all but one of those games. Peña had a 4.15 ERA in the four games he started.
“He seems to have taken to this and likes it. I don’t know if there is need to change it right this second,” Ausmus said about Peña’s role.
Taylor Cole made his first start of the season and third of career. He allowed hits to two of Minnesota’s first three batters but got out of the first inning when Rosario grounded into a double play.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) threw 4 1/3 shutout innings in his first rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday night. Heaney struck out 10 and allowed only two hits in a 9-6 victory over Las Vegas.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (3-3, 5.55 ERA) snapped a five-start winless streak last Thursday at Seattle, allowing three runs over seven innings in an 11-6 victory.
Angels: RHP Trevor Cahill (2-4, 6.95 ERA) has allowed 14 home runs in nine starts, which is tied for most in the majors. He surrendered six runs in 4 1/3 innings in last Wednesday’s 8-7 loss at Minnesota.
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