ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Oswaldo Arcia snapped his 0-for-31 skid with a long homer in the second inning off Angels starter Garrett Richards, who had given up just two homers all season.
Nothing else went particularly well in another loss for the Minnesota Twins, who also lost their rookie shortstop.
Richards pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning to win his fourth straight decision, Kole Calhoun had a two-run double and Los Angeles beat Minnesota 6-2 Wednesday night.
Joe Mauer had two hits for the Twins, who have lost seven straight road games for the first time since September 2011.
Minnesota’s Yohan Pino (0-1) got through just three innings in his second major league appearance, yielding seven hits and five runs.
“Our kid didn’t really have an easy inning out there,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They fought off an awful lot of pitches, fouled off a lot of pitches, and gave him some fits out there. That’s a good hitting team with some veterans who know how to do some things.”
Danny Santana left in the third inning after feeling soreness his left knee while running out a double. The promising shortstop and leadoff hitter, who pulled up sharply while running into second, has a hit in 27 of his first 37 major league games.
Gardenhire said the team didn’t find any ligament damage, but will wait to see whether swelling develops overnight.
“He tried to stretch it out and tried to run on it again, and said he felt it again,” Gardenhire said. “So they took him in there, they checked his knee out thoroughly, and we’ll see how he is in the morning. That’s all we can do.”
Richards (8-2) recovered from Arcia’s shot for his fourth victory in a dominant June. He issued five walks in his 100th big league appearance, but the right-hander stranded two Twins in the third and again in the seventh.
“I did a lot of things I wasn’t happy with, but I kept us in the game,” Richards said. “I felt like I was getting squeezed a little bit, but that stuff is going to happen. You’ve got to move on.”
Richards moved on splendidly to another impressive start that left him with a 1.06 ERA in June. He has yielded just four runs and 20 hits in 34 1-3 innings over his last five starts.
“He’s got pretty good stuff,” Twins catcher Eric Fryer said. “It’s a pretty easy 96, 97 (mph) coming out of his hand and a sharp breaking ball, and it seemed like he was throwing that for strikes a little bit more often than what we’ve seen on the video.”
Minnesota got two more runners on with one out in the eighth to chase Richards, and Kevin Jepsen yielded Kendrys Morales’ RBI single before Albert Pujols alertly snagged Eduardo Escobar’s high-bouncing grounder to end the inning.
Howie Kendrick had an RBI single, and Erick Aybar got two hits and stole two bases as Los Angeles won for the 14th time in 16 games at Angel Stadium, moving to a season-high 10 games over .500 at 43-33.
Aybar, Grant Green and C.J. Cron each drove in a run for Los Angeles.
NOTES: Anthony Swarzak pitched three perfect innings in relief of Pino. … Richards had never started against the Twins. … Minnesota activated OF Aaron Hicks from the disabled list and optioned him to Double-A New Britain. Hicks strained his shoulder while diving for a ball June 7 in Houston. … As part of a Halfway to Christmas promotional night, the Angels handed out more than 35,000 Santa hats while festooning the Big A with wreaths, garlands, fake snow and real reindeer. The crowd set the Guinness world record for the most people wearing the holiday headgear in the same place during the fifth inning.