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Peter Bourjos' inside job isn't enough for Angels

He hits a three-run, inside-the-park homer against the Twins, who rally for three runs in the seventh inning against Jered Weaver, bullpen for their first victory of the season, 6-5.

April 11, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was all smiles after hitting an inside-the-park home run against the Twins on Wednesday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was all smiles after hitting an inside-the-park… (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images )

MINNEAPOLIS -- Peter Bourjos turned the Target Field infield into his personal autobahn Wednesday night, the Angels center fielder rounding the bases in 14 seconds flat on a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning.

"That was impressive," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "Everyone on the bench was saying, 'Wow!' Oh my God, that was amazing."

Two innings later, the Angels limped into the breakdown lane, the bullpen unable to stop the bleeding, Hunter crashing into a wall on the game's decisive play and the Minnesota Twins pulling out a 6-5 victory for their first win of the season.

"We wish we could have that one back," said Jered Weaver, who gave up five runs and seven hits, including Josh Willingham's two-run homer in the fourth, in six innings. "Any time you lose a one-run game after you battle back to score some runs, it makes you bitter."

Bourjos' drive off the left-field wall — the 26th inside-the-park homer in club history and first since June 17, 2007, when Gary Matthews Jr. hit one in Dodger Stadium — turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.

Hunter's hustle double and and Chris Iannetta's two-out, run-scoring double to right-center in the seventh gave the Angels a 5-3 lead, but singles by Ryan Doumit and Danny Valencia to open the bottom of the seventh knocked Weaver out of the game.

On came Hisanori Takahashi to face the left-handed-hitting Chris Parmelee, who grounded an 0-and-2 changeup down the right-field line. But as Hunter tried to cut the ball off, it took a funny bounce, and Hunter slammed into the wall in foul territory, his face and shoulder bearing the brunt of the impact.

"I was punch-drunk — I felt like Mike Tyson hit me," Hunter said. "It took everything in my body to get up and retrieve the ball."

By the time Hunter threw to the infield, the Twins scored two runs to tie it at 5-5, and Parmelee was on third with no outs.

Manager Mike Scioscia handed the ball to right-hander LaTroy Hawkins. "It's a tough situation to get out of," Hawkins said, "but heck, it's been done before."

It was almost done again. Hawkins got Alexi Casilla to fly to shallow left, Parmelee holding, and struck out Denard Span looking to end a 10-pitch at-bat in which Span fouled off five straight two-strike pitches. But Jamey Carroll, the former Dodgers infielder, lined a two-out single to right to score Parmelee with the winning run.

"I thought I'd get out of it," Hawkins said, "but you're not out of it until you're walking off the field."

Carroll, hitless in his first 14 at-bats of the season, also sparked the Twins' three-run rally in the fourth with a leadoff double. Albert Pujols had an RBI single in the fourth for the Angels, and Vernon Wells and Iannetta singled before Bourjos' fifth-inning homer, a liner that sent Willingham crashing into the left-field wall.

With two out, Wells and Iannetta were moving on impact, so there was no chance of Bourjos lapping a teammate. But Bourjos, whose first big league homer, on Aug. 21, 2010, also came in Target Field, was just glad slow-footed Kendrys Morales wasn't on first.

"Yeah, it may have only been a double then," Bourjos said. "I ran hard out of the box, but I feel like I went to another gear around second."

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