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Preview: Angels at Twins

GAME: Los Angeles Angels (73-72) at Minnesota Twins (75-70)
DATE/TIME: Thursday, September 17 – 8:10 PM EST
WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins will need to conquer a major nemesis when they open a four-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Thursday in a matchup of two teams battling for the American League’s second wild card. The Twins blew a ninth-inning lead in an eventual 12-inning loss to Detroit on Wednesday night to remain 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros.

The Angels also squandered a chance to pick up ground on the Astros with a 3-1 loss at Seattle on Wednesday – their third defeat in four games – and are 3 1/2 games behind Houston. Albert Pujols is 0-for-15 in his last four contests and Kole Calhoun is mired in a 1-for-19 slump for Los Angeles, which has scored three runs or fewer in six of its last seven games. Minnesota outfielder and ex-Angel Torii Hunter is riding a five-game hitting streak and is 12-for-29 in his last eight. The Twins posted a 3-0 victory in Los Angeles on July 23 to end a nine-game losing streak in the series – a span in which the Angels amassed 66 runs.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN North (Minnesota)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.21 ERA) vs. Twins LH Tommy Milone (8-5, 3.73)

Santiago lost his final three starts in August in ugly fashion, giving up 14 runs and failing to go past 4 1/3 innings to stretch his winless drought to eight turns. He has turned things around this month, beating Texas with six scoreless innings of one-hit ball before giving up two runs in seven innings in a no-decision versus Houston last time out. He is 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA in eight appearances (four starts) versus the Twins.

Milone is coming off a rocky performance, lasting only 3 2/3 innings and getting tagged for seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in a loss to the Chicago White Sox. The 28-year-old won his previous two starts in impressive fashion, giving up two runs in seven innings at Kansas City and tossing seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the White Sox. Milone is 6-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts against the Angels.


1. Twins 1B Joe Mauer has reached in a career high-tying 36 consecutive games and is six shy of Bob Allison’s team record.

2. Angels closer Huston Street, who has been sidelined with the flu since blowing a save Sunday, is available to pitch after losing 13 pounds.

3. Twins OF Eddie Rosario is the first rookie with at least 10 homers, 10 doubles, 10 triples and 10 steals since Hanley Ramirez (Florida, 2006).

PREDICTION: Angels 4, Twins 3