The Minnesota Twins started the second half with anemic bats and a horrid debut by Bret Boone in their 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The veteran second baseman, who was acquired by the Twins on July 11, went 0-4 and struck out once, while leaving four runners on base. He was one of five Minnesota starters to go hitless on the night.
The Twins jumped out to a two-run lead in the third, thanks to a one-out single by Jacque Jones and a sacrifice fly by Lew Ford. The Angels would take the lead for good in the top of the fifth on the strength of three consecutive RBI hits. After Juan Rivera singled, Steve Finley doubled him home. Maicer Izturis then tripled home Finley, and scored on a single by Adam Kennedy.
That would be all the scoring for the night as the Twins bullpen was solid once again. JC Romero, Jesse Crain, and Juan Rincon combined to hold the Angels scoreless over the last three innings. They allowed only two hits in that span and walked three. Rincon had the only strikeout of the three.
The Twins would go hitless in their last three innings, with only Nick Punto getting on by a walk and Shannon Stewart reaching after being hit by a pitch. Joe Mauer also reached base in the seventh, but that was on a fielder's choice. So while the pitchers were getting the job done, the hitters were not.
With the Chicago White Sox winning on Wednesday, the Twins loss was even more damaging. The Twins now are 48-39 and sit 10 games behind the Sox for first place in the American League Central. The Twins are off on Friday and then continue their series with the Angels on Saturday. Brad Radke takes the ball for Minnesota against Paul Byrd of the Angels.
Joe Mauer's fourth inning single extended his hitting streak to seven games, a career-high. Michael Cuddyer began his rehab assignment in Rochester, he went 0-2 but stole two bases. In other news, Boone was given number 21. His usual number, which is 29, is retired by Rod Carew.