Twins triumph with back-to-back homers

April 16th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- Oswaldo Arcia and Byung Ho Park connected on back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to lift the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Angels on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

Arcia, relegated to backup outfielder status after his struggles last year, made the most of his first homer of the season, crushing a solo shot off reliever Joe Smith. Park followed with a mammoth blast of his own over the batter's eye in center field. It was the second homer of the year for the Korean slugger. The last time the Twins had back-to-back homers was on Aug. 15, 2015, when Eddie Rosario and Chris Herrmann hit consecutive blasts.

"[Arcia] did a great job," Smith said. "I'd throw [the slider] again. I thought I located it well. He put a great swing on it and took it out to the opposite field. Great piece of hitting.

"Park, I threw a slider right down the middle. He did was he was supposed to do."

It gave the Twins their second straight win over the Angels after starting out the season with nine straight losses. Closer Kevin Jepsen threw a scoreless ninth to get his second consecutive save.

Smith surrenders homers in uncharacteristic outing

"I thought we came back out after our first win swinging the bats better from the start of the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We found a way to get a couple there. Arcia, like we saw in Spring Training, when he stays on the ball can hit it to all fields, and that was a beautiful swing. And Park, not too dissimilar from his first home run in Kansas City. It was a breaking ball, and he didn't miss it."

Both starting pitchers didn't factor into the decision, as Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco went seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks, and Angels right-hander Jered Weaver lasted 4 1/3 innings, surrendering four runs on eight hits and two walks.


Plouffe, there it is: 
After scoring the winning run in Friday's 5-4 win over the Angels, Trevor Plouffe kept it going on Saturday. He collected three hits, including a solo homer in the third and a game-tying RBI double in the fifth.

"Trevor, shooting that ball to right, and then the homer and the big RBI double he had," Molitor said. "I asked him if he had a triple in him for the cycle. It didn't happen, but he had a good at-bat there hitting the ball to right with two strikes. So he had a good day."

Fresh start for Weaver: The Angels bailed out Weaver with a four-spot in the second inning after he labored through a two-run first. Los Angeles batters pounded Nolasco for five hits, with Cliff Pennington and Yunel Escobar each delivering two RBIs. Then Weaver's defense helped him by turning a Joe Mauer liner into an inning-ending double play in the bottom half of the frame.

"Guys had a pretty good approach against me early on," Weaver said. "I didn't quite mix my pitches as I should. These guys didn't miss mistakes and hit the ball pretty hard."

Molitor sticks with Nolasco: Nolasco struggled early, giving up four runs in the second, only to settle in. But with two outs in the seventh and two runners on, Molitor went for a mound visit to talk with Nolasco with Angels star Mike Trout due up. Molitor opted to stick with Nolasco, and he got Trout to ground out weakly to third to end the inning. It was the second straight start in which Nolasco got through seven frames.

"He asked me how I was feeling and I told him, 'I'm feeling good and ready to go get this guy,'" Nolasco said. "He gave me the opportunity there to face one last guy, and I was able to throw some good sliders there to get a big out."

"He definitely found his breaking ball and used all his pitches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "After the four runs, we didn't get many looks at him."

Rasmus to the rescue: With Weaver in trouble in the fifth, Cory Rasmus was summoned from the bullpen in a 4-4 tie with runners on second and third and one out. He fanned Arcia and got Park to fly out to left to end the threat, then worked two more perfect innings to preserve the tie.

"Big outs for Cory -- second and third with one out, "Scioscia said. "He kept us in the game for sure. It's good to see him pitch well."


"The wind was blowing out." -- Park being humble about his homer that landed over the batter's eye in center field


Weaver struck out Miguel Sano to start the third for the 1,500th punch-out of his career. He's currently third on the Angels' all-time list behind Nolan Ryan and Chuck Finley.


The Angels lost a replay challenge in the third, as umpires determined that Albert Pujols was tagged out at first by Park. Plouffe's throw pulled Park into the baseline, and Pujols felt the tag was not applied as he tried to evade Park's swipe.


Angels: Right-hander Nick Tropeano looks for his second win in as many starts as he takes the ball for Los Angeles in the series finale at 11:10 a.m. PT on Sunday. He debuted 2016 with five shutout innings against the Athletics.

Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson starts for the Twins on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Gibson is looking for his first win of the season, as he's struggled with his control early this season, walking eight batters in 10 2/3 innings.

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