MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Pujols and Jose Fernandez each collected milestone RBIs, but it wasn't enough to overcome a rocky start from right-hander Nick Tropeano as the Angels saw their six-game winning streak come to an end with a 7-5 loss to the Twins in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Target
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Pujols and Jose Fernandez each collected milestone RBIs, but it wasn't enough to overcome a rocky start from right-hander Nick Tropeano as the Angels saw their six-game winning streak come to an end with a 7-5 loss to the Twins in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Target Field.
The Angels entered Sunday with a 1.85 team ERA in June, but Tropeano couldn't continue that stretch of strong pitching, allowing five runs over 4 1/3 innings. He has surrendered 10 runs over nine innings in his last two outings for the Angels.
"In the last start, I was falling a little behind a lot of hitters," Tropeano said. "I think this time they kind of just found some holes, man. It's my job to provide shutdown innings. I didn't do that, so that's on me."
Pujols opened the scoring with an RBI single off Twins right-hander Fernando Romero in the first inning, recording his 1,952nd career RBI and passing Stan Musial for sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. Pujols added a two-out, two-run single in the ninth that cut the Twins' lead to 7-5, but Twins closer Fernando Rodney coaxed a popout from Zack Cozart to end the game.
"It's pretty special," Pujols said. "In St. Louis, Stan was a hero for everybody. Getting to St. Louis and getting drafted by the organization, I grew up and learned about the history and what kind of man he was. It was pretty special that the Lord allowed me to spend some time with him before he left this earth. He made a big impact in my life."
Fernandez finished 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, the first of his MLB career. Fernandez, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday, has hit safely in his first three games with the Angels.
The rest of the Angels' offense wasn't as productive, going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and leaving 10 men on base. The Angels (37-29) head to Seattle 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Mariners, who they'll face in a three-game series that begins Monday night.
"There's no doubt we had chances," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We kept pressuring them early in the game, and we couldn't just keep building on that."
Tropeano retired 10 in a row after yielding a two-run home run to Logan Morrison in the first inning, but he unraveled in the fifth and couldn't protect the Angels' 3-2 lead. Max Kepler led off the inning with a walk, though he was wiped off the basepaths after Martin Maldonado caught him stealing at second. After Mitch Garver doubled, Jake Cave delivered an RBI single to right field to tie the game.
Ehire Adrianza followed with an RBI triple to put the Twins ahead, 4-3. Adrianza pulled a down-and-away changeup down the right-field line, and Chris Young had some trouble corralling the ball in the corner, allowing Cave to score from first and Adrianza to cruise into third base. Tropeano issued another walk to Robbie Grossman before Scioscia decided to pull him in favor of Cam Bedrosian.
Tropeano didn't retire any of the five batters he faced in that inning. He departed after allowing four hits, walking three, striking out two and throwing 66 pitches.
"I think I've just got to do a better job of executing pitches with runners in scoring position," Tropeano said. "The offense puts up runs, it's my job to go out there and throw up zeros, and I just didn't do it today. Overall, not a good day."
Bedrosian struck out Eddie Rosario for the second out before yielding an RBI double to Eduardo Escobar that made it 5-3. Morrison then grounded out to end the inning.
The Twins added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on Cave's two-run home run off Jim Johnson.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Angels briefly turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead by scoring two runs off Romero in the fourth. Cozart began the inning by reaching on a hit-by-pitch and scored from first on Fernandez's double to right field to tie the game. Maldonado then singled to put runners on the corners for Young, who knocked in Fernandez with a sacrifice fly to center field. The Angels had a chance to add more, as Ian Kinsler subsequently singled to put a pair of runners on with one out, but Romero struck out Michael Trout and coaxed a groundout from Justin Upton to end the inning. Trout, who went 0-for-5 on Sunday, is now 2-for-19 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs over his last five games.
"[Trout is] never that far off," Scioscia said. "Occasionally you're just going to get into some stretches where hits aren't falling in, but his approach is good, his process is good. He'll be fine."
The Angels will fly to Seattle to kick off at three-game series against the first-place Mariners on Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Left-handers Andrew Heaney (3-4, 3.12 ERA) and Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 2.94 ERA) will match up in the series opener. Heaney is coming off the best start of his career, a one-hit shutout against the Royals on his 27th birthday. He has posted a 1.93 ERA over his last eight outings and is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three career starts against Seattle.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.