Twins show potential when everything clicks

Twins show potential when everything clicks

ANAHEIM -- For much of the season, Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor has watched opponents take advantage of his young team's mistakes.

The Twins were able to flip the script on Monday night, making the most of their opponent's gaffes as they roared to a 9-4 road win over the Angels.

While the Angels struggled with sloppy play and committed three errors, the Twins looked sharp in what Molitor said might have been their most complete game of the year.

"There's not a lot of nights where we've been able to complement all areas of the game and be efficient, and we haven't had that many games where we've had a lead of five, six runs going in late," Molitor said.

Defensively, they were sharp. The lone mistake, an interference call on third baseman Trevor Plouffe, was quickly eradicated as starter Ricky Nolasco struck out Yunel Escobar to end the second inning.

Plouffe bounced back to kick the offense into gear the next half-inning, taking a 76 mph changeup from Jered Weaver and driving it a Statcast-projected 405 feet out to left field for a three-run, tie-breaking homer.

"[Plouffe] wiped the slate clean when he put three on the board," Molitor said of the homer. "Weaver was using his off-speed, like he always does, pitching backwards. He had a lot of us off stride early, but it was nice to see Trevor stay back on an off-speed and hit it out of the park."

Plouffe's three-run blast

Plouffe took advantage of an Angels error from second baseman Johnny Giavotella, which negated a sure-fire inning-ending double play and instead left two men on the basepaths.

"It's inexcusable," Giavotella said of his play. "I work hard on my defense, I take pride in [working on it] every day. I had a routine play there."

The power surge continued throughout the night, as center fielder Byron Buxton also took Weaver deep for his first home run of the season. Left fielder Robbie Grossman added on in the seventh, taking a low fastball from reliever Al Alburquerque and driving it out to center field. Two more runs would score in the frame, in large part due to two errors from Angels shortstop Gregorio Petit.

"They had a couple miscues on the defensive side," Molitor said. "We've paid the price for that this year. A lot of teams have capitalized on our defensive mistakes, and tonight it was nice to see that we were able to get some hits with extra outs."

Nolasco grinded his way to a quality start, giving up three runs and scattering seven hits over six innings and 106 pitches. He was effective when it mattered, holding the first four hitters in the Angels lineup -- Escobar, Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols -- to a 1-for-12 showing.

Nolasco garners fourth win

For one of the few times this season, the Twins had everything going.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.