After four comebacks, Twins fall to Angels

After four comebacks, Twins fall to Angels

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins again proved their resiliency with four comebacks against the Angels, but the night ended with a familiar result for the struggling club.

Minnesota rallied to score two runs with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the score, but Jared Burton gave up a go-ahead sacrifice fly to Erick Aybar in the 10th in a 7-6 loss on Friday night at Target Field.

"The guys are playing and staying after the game and never giving up," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just came up short again. The boys are giving it everything they have. They're trying. But we're just coming up short."

The Angels loaded the bases with one out, and Aybar was able to send home the decisive run despite a strong throw from Oswaldo Arcia. Kole Calhoun scored the game-winner, the fourth time he scored on the night.

"Kole at the top of the lineup set the tone with a couple of great at-bats tonight," Angels center fielder Mike Trout said. "Aybar's at-bat was great. Big for us. We just pick each other up."

After losing a one-run lead and giving up three runs in the eighth, the Twins knotted it up in the ninth against Angels closer Huston Street. Trevor Plouffe came through with a two-run double on a 1-1 slider with two outs to give Street his second blown save since joining the Angels.

"His slider is basically his best pitch," Plouffe said. "I saw the first one, he threw me a good one for the second one, and I was able to hit the last one."

The Twins entered the eighth with a one-run lead, but Casey Fien gave up a leadoff single to Brennan Boesch on a comebacker that hit off Fien's right arm. Fien promptly walked Chris Iannetta before being removed for right-hander Ryan Pressly. John McDonald bunted over both runners, and Minnesota brought in lefty Brian Duensing to face Calhoun.

Calhoun laced a two-run double to left-center to give the Angels a one-run lead. Right-hander Michael Tonkin came in and gave up an RBI double to Trout for an insurance run for the Angels.

"You have a base open there, and he just left one out and over the plate," Gardenhire said of Calhoun's double. "It was a big pitch."

The Twins used eight relievers, as Ricky Nolasco pitched his way out of several jams but lasted just five innings. Despite not having his best stuff, Nolasco gave up only three runs (two earned) on eight hits and a walk to keep the Twins in the game.

"We missed a few plays out there, and that hurt him," Gardenhire said. "But he threw the ball well."

It was a back-and-forth game early before Aaron Hicks gave the Twins their first lead with a two-out RBI single in the sixth off reliever Fernando Salas. The single scored Josmil Pinto, who also had an impressive night at the plate, with two doubles and a walk.

The Angels opened the scoring against Nolasco in the first, with Calhoun leading off the game with a triple to right field. Calhoun scored on an error by Plouffe, who booted a grounder from Albert Pujols.

The Twins came right back with a run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly from Kennys Vargas that sent home Danny Santana, who had singled, reached second on a fielder's choice and took third on a wild pitch.

The Angels took the lead again in the second, with David Freese, Boesch and Iannetta hitting consecutive singles to open the inning, but Nolasco was able to limit the damage to one run.

Minnesota came back again, this time on a solo shot from Arcia in the bottom of the frame. It was Arcia's 15th homer of the season and his first since Aug. 22.

After a scoreless third for both teams, the Angels reclaimed the lead in the fourth, with Calhoun reaching on a two-base error by Arcia, who couldn't handle a liner to right with two outs. Calhoun scored on a bloop single by Trout; Brian Dozier made a diving effort, but the ball popped out of his glove.

The Twins came right back to tie it yet again, with Pinto doubling and scoring on a single by Hicks in the bottom of the fourth. But after their fourth comeback in the ninth, they couldn't come through in the 10th against Kevin Jepsen, who tossed a 1-2-3 inning to preserve the win.

"Losing any ballgame is frustrating," Plouffe said. "Again, we showed resiliency and came back there in the ninth. The cards didn't fall our way tonight."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.