Twins roll behind strong nights from Correia, Mauer
MINNEAPOLIS -- With a starting rotation that logged both the fewest innings and had the worst ERA in the American League last season, the Twins hoped veteran Kevin Correia could provide a boost to their pitching staff.
And while it's only been three starts, Correia has been doing just that for the Twins, and he was at it again on Monday night against the Angels at Target Field.
Correia continued his strong start to the season and was backed by Joe Mauer, who had four hits, including a solo homer and three RBIs, to lift the Twins to an 8-2 win over the Angels to snap a five-game losing streak.
Correia, who has been the club's most consistent starter in the early going this season with a 2.95 ERA, went at least seven innings for his third straight start with the Twins. The right-hander surrendered two runs on eight hits and a walk over seven frames while striking out a season-high five batters to pick up his first win of the year.
"I've been real impressed with him," Mauer said. "He's been the total package. He's even shut down the running game. Today he gave me a chance to throw a guy out. He just changes his looks and keeps competing. He's been a nice pickup for us."
Correia was able to settle down after the Angels scored in a hurry, as Peter Bourjos led off the game with his first career leadoff homer. Correia later served up a homer to former Twins infielder Brendan Harris in the third.
But it was the only damage the Angels could do against Correia, who was happy to help the Twins put an end to their losing streak.
"I think it's important for anybody in that situation when you lose five games in a row," Correia said. "But even if you've lost two games in a row you want to stop it as quick as possible."
The Twins also scored early against Angels right-hander Joe Blanton, as Mauer doubled off the wall in right-center field before scoring on a two-out single from Ryan Doumit in the first. Minnesota tied it up in the third, when Justin Morneau laced an RBI double to score Darin Mastroianni, who singled and stole second.
Plouffe gave the Twins the lead for good with a solo shot off Blanton in the fourth inning for his second homer of the season. And Mauer added a solo blast of his own in the fifth against Blanton, who gave up four runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings to get saddled with the loss.
"It was a good night," Mauer said. "The ball was carrying better. The balls I hit carried pretty good. I've been disappointed a few times this season, but tonight it was flying a little bit better."
The Twins added another run in the sixth, as Mauer came through with a two-out RBI single off reliever Michael Roth to score Brian Dozier, who led off the inning with a walk. Mauer fell just a triple short of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with a homer, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.
"He's a terrific hitter, first of all, but I think he showed what he does," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He used all fields, and when we got some pitches in some zones, Joe struck him out one time, but when for the most part, when we made a mistake, he was on it."
Prospect Oswaldo Arcia also made his Major League debut for the Twins, and went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat. But he also dropped a fly ball in the seventh and was replaced by Aaron Hicks in the top of the eighth. He was optioned after the game, as Wilkin Ramirez is set to return from paternity leave on Tuesday.
Minnesota added three more runs in the eighth keyed by a two-run double from Pedro Florimon, who scored on Mauer's fourth hit of the game.
"It was one of those ballgames that was fun to watch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some timely hitting with guys in scoring position and ran around the bases. So it was a fun ballgame for us."