Bullpen stumbles, Twins leap to a win

JUSTIN UPTON homered on Friday, his fourth straight game with a four-bagger (Angels photo).

By Pete Zarustica

If there’s one glaring weakness in the formidable roster of the Los Angeles Angels, it’s lurking in the bullpen. Even during the recent hot streak of the Halos, there have been several games in which an early lead turned into a nail-biter when the relief corps poured gasoline rather than water on the situation.

That happened on Friday in Anaheim when the home team built up an early 4-1 lead but was overtaken in the ninth en route to losing 5-4 to the Minnesota Twins. The only bright spot in the scenario is that the Houston Astros also lost, allowing the Angels to hold on to first place in the American League West by a wafer-thin margin.

After Tyler Skaggs threw a crisp six innings, giving up six hits and two runs while striking out seven and walking two, manager Mike Scioscia went to the ‘pen. In the eighth, Justin Anderson knocked down the side with strikeouts to protect a 4-2 ledge, but ran into trouble in the ninth. He yielded two hits – including Eddie Rosario’s second homer of the game – and three runs as the Twins grabbed their first lead of night and went on to the win.

“I wanted to push the game closer,” Rosario said. “I wasn’t trying to hit a homer. I was trying to hit it hard and have a good at-bat. I think after my homer, everybody tried to make the comeback [happen] in that game.”

The Angels built their lead on a two-run home run by Justin Upton and hitting by Martin Maldonado – three hits, one run scored – and Kole Calhoun – two hits and a run scored.

Nick Tropeano (1-2) will get the start for the Angels on Saturday.

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