After knocking off Minnesota ace Jose Berrios on Monday night in the opener, the Los Angeles Angels will try to win their fourth consecutive road series and reach .500 on Tuesday night when they face the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Right-hander Felix Pena (2-1, 3.21 ERA), who has never faced Minnesota in his career, was originally listed as the starter before it was later revealed that the Angels would use right-hander Cam Bedrosian (1-1, 2.79) as an “opener.”
The Angels have used a bullpen arm to start the game in each of Pena’s past three appearances — including his previous outing at Detroit on Thursday afternoon.
Luke Bard began that 13-0 victory and pitched an inning before turning it over to Pena, who then tossed seven three-hit innings to pick up the win, striking out seven in the process.
The Angels are trying to pull back to .500 for the first time since April, when they were 8-8.
Minnesota, trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season following back-to-back losses to Detroit on Sunday and the Angels on Monday, will counter with Kyle Gibson (3-1, 4.19 ERA).
Gibson is 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 10 career starts against Los Angeles. He has won three of his last four starts this season, including a 9-1 win at Toronto on Wednesday when he allowed a run on two hits over six innings while striking out a career-high 11 batters.
Gibson and the Twins will have to find a way to slow down Angels infielder Tommy La Stella, who hit his team-leading 10th homer of the season to break a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning on Monday with the first opposite-field home run of his career.
La Stella entered the season with just 10 home runs in 396 career games. He has 10 in 36 games this season to become the first left-handed Angels batter since Mo Vaughn in 1999 to hit 10 homers in his first 36 games.
“I don’t know,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said when asked for the reason for La Stella’s power surge this season. “Maybe it’s a change in his swing. Maybe he’s matured as a hitter. I couldn’t really tell you. But he’s certainly pleasantly surprised all of us.”
“I’m impressed,” said two-time American League MVP Mike Trout after going 3-for-5 with a run Monday. “He comes in and works hard. He’s barreling the ball every time at the plate. It’s fun to watch.”
Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-3 with two walks and hit his first home run of the season in the win, a 429-foot two-run drive off the facing of the second deck in left-center above the bullpens.
Ohtani, who has played in just six games this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last fall, hit 22 homers in 104 games as a hitter last season.
“We all know the power is there and that was a no-doubter to the opposite field in left-center,” Ausmus said. “You don’t see a lot of balls go the other way from many people in this game that way.”
Minnesota, which comes in off back-to-back losses for the first time since April 23-24 at Houston, finished 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Monday.
“I’m not disturbed by it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I mean, those kinds of things, they’re going to happen. You take the good with the bad. Our guys have been swinging the bats really well. … It’s going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if our guys bounce back and have the same good at-bats they’ve been having all year tomorrow and forward.”
–Field Level Media
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